Ptosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Ptosis is a common condition with various causes that can have a considerable impact on your vision and quality of life. Here’s everything you need to know about ptosis, including how to recognize it and what to do if you are affected.

What causes ptosis?

There are several reasons why someone may suffer from ptosis. The most common reasons why the eyelid begins to droop are:

Looseness of the skin of the upper eyelids

This most often happens due to advancing age. As we get older, changes to the structure of the skin cause it to become thinner and looser. Instead of sitting tight against the contours of the face, it can start to sag and wrinkle.

Damage to the nerves that control the muscle

Your face is full of muscles, hidden underneath layers of skin. These muscles are controlled by nerves that send messages to the muscles, telling them when to contract and when to release. If there is any damage to these nerves, it can interrupt this process and cause the upper eyelids to droop.

Weakness of the muscle that raises the eyelid

Issues with the nerves in the muscles around the eyelid can cause weakness in the upper eyelids that leads to sagging and drooping.

Medical condition

There are some different diseases and illnesses which can cause the upper eyelids to weaken and droop. These include:

  • Tumors in or around the eye
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Inflammation of the eyelid, such as in a stye
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Horner syndrome

Drooping eyelids can affect anyone, regardless of their age. They can be present from birth or develop later in life. They can also be the result of injury as well as disease.


What are the symptoms of ptosis?

Ptosis is characterized by excessive drooping and sagging of the upper eyelid. This is a visible symptom and relatively obvious. However, there are also other symptoms associated with ptosis. These may develop before or alongside progressive drooping of the eyelid and include:

  • Eye fatigue
  • Tearing
  • Difficulty or discomfort blinking or closing the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Losing the top part of your vision
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Amblyopia

If you suspect that you may have some of the symptoms of ptosis, we recommend that you speak to your eye doctor for advice as soon as possible.

Can ptosis be treated?

In the early stages of the condition, it may not be necessary to treat ptosis at all. However, if the appearance of your eyelids is concerning you, or your vision starts to become impaired, it’s important to seek treatment so that your quality of life isn’t adversely affected.

The majority of patients are offered a treatment called ptosis repair. This is a minor surgical procedure in which the muscle above the eye is tightened using sutures. This raises the eyelid into a higher position so that it looks more natural and doesn’t obscure your vision. Ptosis repair is carried out under local anesthetic and incisions are kept to a minimum to reduce any scarring.

In some cases, patients choose to combine ptosis repair with a cosmetic surgery procedure called blepharoplasty. This is where any excess, sagging skin on the upper eyelid is removed.

If you are concerned about ptosis and would like more information, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss this popular treatment, please contact our eyecare team at 918.565.2020 today.