Droopy Eyelids (Ptosis)

What is Ptosis?

When the upper eyelid is lower than normal, this is called ptosis. It is possible to be born with a ptosis of one or both eyelids, or the condition can develop later in life. The lid may be just slightly lower than normal or at the other extreme, the lid may be so low as to cover the pupil and block the vision completely. When the eyelid is low, it may be necessary to raise the eyelid with a finger to see properly.

Why does this happen?

Ptosis is most frequently seen as a result of ageing. This happens when the muscle which pulls the eyelid upwards, becomes detached from the eyelid. This may happen spontaneously or after an injury, the use of hard contact lenses or after cataract surgery. If the ptosis has been present from birth, this may be due to the abnormal development of the muscle which raises the eyelid.


Surgery to correct the ptosis in adults is often performed as a day case operation under local anaesthetic. General anaesthetic is required for young children.

There are different ways to correct eyelid ptosis and the technique used depends on the amount of drooping of the eyelid and the strength of the muscle which raises the eyelid. In many cases a skin incision is made at the level of the skin crease on the upper eyelid and this is usually well hidden after the operation ensuring that it is hard to see any scar after the operation.

There is usually some bruising and swelling of the upper eyelid after the operation, but this usually settles quickly after a few days.



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