What is Ptosis?

Ptosis is the drooping of the upper eyelid. This condition affect one of both eyes, causing vision problems in the affected eye. When the ptosis becomes more prominent, the lid will start to block vision by covering part or all of the pupil. When ptosis is present at birth, it is called congenital ptosis.

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What Causes Ptosis?

As you get older, the tendon that attaches the levator muscle (the muscle responsible for elevating the upper lid) to the eyelid stretches and becomes weak, causing the eyelid to fall. It is not uncommon for a patient to develop upper eyelid ptosis following cataract surgery. In most cases, however, this improves with observation.

Ptosis can also be the result of an injury to the nerve that stimulates the levator muscle, or to the tendon connecting the levator muscle to the eyelid.

What are the Symptoms of Ptosis?

The symptoms of ptosis include:

  • Difficulty keeping your eyes open
  • Eyestrain
  • Eyebrow aching (from increased effort in keeping eyes open)
  • In severe cases, needing to tilt your head back or open the eyelid with your finger to see

How Do You Treat Ptosis?

Ptosis is treated by surgery, which involves tightening the levator muscle in order to elevate the eyelid to the desired position. In severe ptosis the levator muscle is extremely weak, and a "sling" operation may be performed. This enables the muscles to lift the eyelid. The main goal of ptosis surgery is to elevate the upper eyelid to create a full field of vision.

There are some risks and complications, including:

  • Minor bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding (uncommon)
  • Infection (uncommon)