Blepharoplasty, also known as an eyelift, removes excess skin and fat in the upper eyelids and excess fat in the lower lids. The procedure can also be done on just the upper or lower eyelids. It may be accompanied by an eyebrow lift and cheek lift as well. This procedure is also done for cosmetic beautification but is commonly done for treatment of Ptosis.

Ptosis is the abnormal drooping of the upper eyelid to a level such that it covers part of the eye, restricting or obscuring vision. It is also called as ‘drooping eyelid’ or ‘blepharoptosis’.

Droopy eyelids interfere with vision and can lead to headaches from straining to elevate the eyelids. It is very important that the disorder is treated as soon as possible, before it begins to interfere with one’s vision. This is especially important in children, whose vision is still developing.

There are two types of ptosis: acquired and congenital.

Acquired ptosis is the most common type, and is usually due to the muscles that elevate the eyelid becoming weak, thin, or stretched. Congenital ptosis is present at birth and is usually due to the lack of development of the eyelid muscles called levators.

Symptoms of a Droopy Eyelid

The most obvious symptom of ptosis is the drooping eyelid itself. Other symptoms include difficulty shutting or opening the eye, extra skin on or around the eyelid, or the need to tilt your head back in order to see better. Eye fatigue, misaligned eyes, or double vision can also accompany ptosis. Many experts recommend that you compare a photo of yourself from ten years ago to a recent one to see if there is a difference in your eyelids.

Risk Factors for Ptosis

A variety of factors may increase your risk for developing ptosis or passing it on to your children. They include:

  • Aging
  • Family history of condition
  • Birth injury
  • Eye surgery such as cataract
  • Paralysis of nerve fibres in eyelids
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Horner’s syndrome
  • Head or eyelid trauma
  • Tumor in the upper lobe of a lung
  • Brain tumor
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myasthenia gravis

Treating a Droopy Eyelid

If symptoms of ptosis are mild, treatment may not be necessary. Specific treatment is usually directed towards the underlying cause. In some mild cases, eye exercises may strengthen weak muscles and correct the problem. Other times, special glasses may be used. These glasses have a crutch attached to hold up the eyelid. In moderate to severe cases surgery may be the only option to correct the eyelid. This may be done with a surgical procedure called blepharoplasty.