What is Ptosis?
Ptosis, also known as a droopy eyelid, is the medical term for the drooping of the upper eyelid. This condition may affect one or both eyelids. Since it is the upper eyelid that droops down, ptosis may block the upper field of your vision. The drooping eyelid may be considered mild or severe. Mild ptosis occurs in the form of a partially drooping eyelid. Severe ptosis occurs in the form of a drooping eyelid that covers the eye completely.
Ptosis can occur at any time due to certain factors. If it is present at birth, it is called congenital ptosis. As a child, improper development of the levator muscle (the main muscle that operates the upper eyelid) may cause ptosis. As an adult, ptosis can appear as a result of aging, disease (muscular or neurologic), and/or trauma.
What is the Process Like for a Ptosis Repair?
The most common treatment for ptosis involves making an incision in the eyelid crease and tightening the main muscle that opens the eye (levator muscle). The main goal of ptosis surgery is to open the upper eyelid wider to improve the field of vision. It is important to note that when operating on an abnormal muscle, completely normal eyelid position and function after surgery may not be possible to achieve. Ptosis repair is achieved in an outpatient setting using general or “twilight” anesthesia.
Since ptosis repair includes operating on abnormal muscles, there are many variables that may affect the outcome of your ptosis repair. Symmetry within 1mm is typically considered a success. There is always a possibility that the eyelid will be placed higher or lower than desired, or the curve and shape of the eyelid turn out different. Touch-up surgery to improve eyelid position may be necessary. While perfect symmetry between the two eyelids can never be guaranteed, the vast majority of patients see a great improvement in their lid position and are happy with their results.
When Should I Consider a Ptosis Repair
You should consider undergoing a ptosis repair if you experience:
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Eyebrow aching that stems from the extra effort needed to raise your eyelids
- Fatigue, especially when reading
- In severe cases, it may be necessary to tilt your back or lift the eyelid with a finger in order to see out from under the drooping eyelid(s)
If you experience any of these aforementioned issues, consider contacting us for a consultation with one of our board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeons.
For more information on post-operative care, click here.
For before and after pictures of our ptosis repair, click here.