What is Ptosis?

Posted Monday, May 14, 2018

Did You Know? Surgery to elevate the eyelid can correct ptosis in most people.

Ptosis Can Involve One or Both Upper Eyelids

Ptosis can be congenital or can develop later in life.

Ptosis is the involuntary drooping and sometimes complete closure of an upper eyelid. It can be present at birth or can develop due to a stretching, thinning or loosening of the levator muscle over time. 

Please read below to learn more about ptosis and how it is treated.

01 | Cause and Symptoms

Ptosis causes a mild to severe drooping of one or both of the upper eyelids. It is not painful, but can block your vision. There are two forms of ptosis:

  • Congenital – some infants are born with defective fibrous tissues in the upper eyelid, resulting in ptosis.
  • Acquired – acquired ptosis can result from muscle weakness, damage or injury, or as the result of a more serious condition. Some diseases that can cause ptosis include:
    • Tumor around or behind the eye
    • Diabetes
    • Horner Syndrome
    • Myasthenia Gravis
    • Third Nerve Palsy
    • Stroke

02 | Treatment

If it doesn’t affect your vision, your doctor may decide not to treat it. Doctors often don’t treat children with ptosis but will check the child’s eyes regularly. If there is associated amblyopia, it can be treated with drops, patches or glasses. And the child will be monitored to see if surgery may be needed as he or she gets older.

If treatment is indicated, surgery is required. Ptosis repair is usually performed by an ophthalmologist who specializes in eyelid surgery. Surgical options include:

  • External Approach – the surgeon repositions the attachment of the levator muscle by stitching it to connective tissue in the eyelid.
  • Internal Approach – the surgeon shortens the eyelid muscles from the inside of the eyelid. Either the levator muscle or Mueller’s muscle is shortened.
  • Frontalis Sling Fixation – in cases of ptosis and poor muscle function, the surgeon will attach the upper eyelid to the frontalis muscle with the use of a small silicone rod. This allows the forehead muscles to elevate the eyelid.

03 | Post Surgery

After surgery, your surgeon will recommend that you limit your activities for up to a week to allow healing. Avoid rubbing your eye or doing anything else that would be irritating to the eye. Your surgeon may also prescribe eye drops to keep the eye properly lubricated during recovery. 

For more information on ptosis, please visit: https://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/90  

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