Drooping eyelid (Ptosis)

What is it?

Ptosis is also known as ‘drooping eyelid’. It is caused by weakness of the muscles responsible for raising the eyelid, damage to the nerves which control those muscles, or laxity of the skin of the upper eyelids. Patients who have ptosis find the condition annoying because many develop headaches from straining to hold their lids open wider. In the more serious cases of ptosis, the lids may droop or sag so much that they actually block a person's vision.

What are the causes?

Ptosis or drooping eyelid can be caused by the normal aging process, a congenital abnormality (present before birth) or due to the result of an injury or disease. The risk factors include aging, diabetes, stroke, Horner’s syndrome, myasthenia gravis, brain tumour or other cancers, which can affect the nerve or muscle response. Other causes of ptosis are injury, previous eye surgery, neurological and muscular problems. It can also be congenital (present at birth).

What are the symptoms?

Drooping of both or one eyelid Increased tearing If ptosis is severe, interference with vision

How is the diagnosis made?

A physical examination is done to determine the cause or special tests may be done to evaluate suspected causes, such as myasthenia gravis.

What is the treatment?

If an underlying disease is found, the treatment may be specific to that disease. Most cases are associated with ageing and no underlying disease is found. Surgical correction can be done to improve the appearance of the eyelids in milder cases if the patient desires it, and may be necessary to correct interference with vision in more severe cases. Drooping eyelids in children requires prompt evaluation by an ophthalmologist. Surgical correction may be necessary to prevent amblyopia (lazy eye).

What is the prognosis?

The expected outcome depends upon the cause. Surgical repair is usually very successful in restoring appearance and function.

What are the complications?

If a drooping eyelid is left uncorrected in a child, it can lead to amblyopia.

DoctorNDTV Team

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