A Ptosis (pronounced "toe-sis") refers to the dropping of an eyelid. It can affect either both lids or just one upper eyelid. The amount of the lid drooping may vary from just barely being noticeable to extending over the entire pupil. Ptosis can occur in both children and adults. It can happen as a natural age occurrence, or it may be due to a problem with the nerve that controls the muscle. It can be caused by trauma (being hit in the face or head), or a stroke.
The most obvious sign of ptosis is a lower-than-normal positioning of one or both of the upper eyelids. It the lid droops a lot, it then causes difficulty seeing. If it drops significantly, then an individual may then tilt their heads back to try to see under the lid, or raise their eyebrows repeatedly to try to lift the eyelids.
If it occurs in children, it can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye) and the non-development of visual information from that eye. Bilateral (two eyes) ptosis that becomes more pronounced as the day goes on, can indicate Myasthenia Gravis.
Children born with moderate or severe ptosis require treatment in order for proper vision to develop. Failure to treat ptosis can result in amblyopia (diminished vision in one eye) and a lifetime of poor vision. If your child has even mild ptosis, please visit our office so that we can monitor where the lids position and the visual acuity.
The degree of droopiness varies from one person to the next. It is a good idea to compare a recent photo of your face to one from 10 or 20 years ago to see if there is a noticeable change in the position of your upper eyelids.
Ptosis can look similar to dermatochalasis, a group of connective tissue diseases that cause the skin to hang in folds. These diseases are associated with less-than-normal elastic tissue formation.
When the problem is that the muscle or lid is no longer as tight as it had been, surgery might be the best treatment for drooping eyelids. If the ptosis is due to a brain injury or diabetes then surgery is not the right answer. Eyelid surgery is also known as blepharoplasty. After surgery, the eyelids may not appear symmetrical, even though the lids are higher than before surgery. Very rarely, eyelid movement may be lost. Surgery could result in a less than desirable appearance or in dry eyes caused by your lids not being able to close properly after surgery.