When we hear about eyelid drooping, it usually relates to the changes that occur in the skin as we age. Aging, however, is not the only reason a person may have drooping eyelids. Ptosis is another common reason. This condition is not especially worrisome. However, it is impossible to ignore the cosmetic and functional consequences of a drooping eyelid. Here, we discuss the reasons why ptosis may occur, plus potential ways to correct the problem.
Ptosis may be Congenital
Some people are born with a long or loose levator muscle. It is the laxity or poor positioning of this muscle that causes one or both eyelids to droop. Depending on the severity of congenital ptosis, a doctor may recommend surgical correction. This approach may be necessary to enable the child to develop normal vision. The child needs to see light and color to stimulate all the nerves of the eye and brain. Without treatment, congenital ptosis may lead to astigmatism, crossed eyes, or lazy eye.
Ptosis could also relate to the changing skin of the forehead and upper eyelids. While referred to as senile or aponeurotic ptosis, this condition is limited to the eyelids and the excess skin that hangs over the eyelashes. Aponeurotic ptosis is a cosmetic problem that can be corrected with blepharoplasty. Sometimes, the skin is so lax that it hangs into the field of vision. In this case, blepharoplasty may be necessary to resolve this functional issue.
Tumors sometimes develop around the outside of the eye. Whether cancerous or benign, a tumor can affect the muscles that operate the eyelids. The tumor’s location could alter the nerve pathways or arteries that supply the eye, resulting in diminished control over raising and lowering the eyelid. Treatment for the tumor may resolve the functional issue. A surgeon may also need to perform ancillary procedures, such as levator muscle repair, to restore optimal eyelid position.
Drooping eyelids are a common problem that may be influenced by several factors. An oculoplastic surgeon and ophthalmologist, Dr. Murrell has the education and training that is needed to identify the cause of ptosis. A thorough eye examination provides the information needed to develop an appropriate treatment plan.