Ptosis is the medical name given to the condition of droopy eyelids. It is most common in older people; although it can occur as a congenital or birth defect or as a result of an eye injury or disease.
When someone suffers from drooping eyelids, they may have difficulty seeing. This often results from a condition called Ptosis. Ptosis occurs when one or both of the upper eyelids droop downward. This drooping may hardly be noticeable – or it may be so severe that the eyelids begin to obstruct a person’s vision. Ptosis can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for adults – but the obstructed vision caused by this condition can pose a serious threat to a child’s developing eyesight. The condition does not usually go away on its own, and requires treatment by an eye surgeon to restore the eyelids to their normal position.
The symptoms of ptosis are a drooping of the upper eyelids. This can be in just one eye or it may affect both eyes.
Ptosis generally gives the face a tired or severe appearance. However, it can also result in both dry eyes and watery eyes as the eyelids are no longer functioning effectively to keep the eyes moist.
At its most severe ptosis can obstruct your vision, as the upper eyelid sags so much that it begins to cover the pupil. Many people with severe ptosis find themselves tilting their heads back to speak. Ptosis can also cause tiredness and aching around the eyes as the eyebrows are constantly lifted in order to see properly.
Causes of ptosis
The most common cause of ptosis is ageing. As the muscles around the eyes weaken, the upper eyelids may begin to droop.
Occasionally children can be born with ptosis. Children with ptosis often tilt their heads or lift their eyebrows frequently to see properly.
Sometimes a head injury, eye trauma or another condition or disease can cause ptosis. Generally, this occurs when there is either damage to the ‘levator’ muscles that hold the eyelids up, or damage to the nerves which control these muscles.
Treatment for ptosis
Thankfully treatment for ptosis is relatively fast and straightforward at Exeter Eye. Our oculoplastic surgeons specialise in blepharoplasty – an operation to correct ptosis of the eyelid and restore your appearance back to normal.
Drooping eyelids caused by ptosis can be addressed with an outpatient procedure. In most cases, a procedure can be performed to strengthen or tighten the muscles around the eye, allowing the eyelids to open more fully, and function naturally. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove excess skin from the upper eyelid.
Each of these treatments is meant to help restore the eyelid’s normal healthy appearance. The best treatment option depends on many factors, which can be determined by an eye surgeon.
Children with ptosis should also have regular check-ups and treatment if necessary; as ptosis may cause further vision problems later in life.