Ptosis is the medical term for the drooping of the upper eyelid, where the eyelid may droop partially or severely to an extent where it covers the pupil and restricts vision in a patient. It is sometimes inherited and can affect one or both of the eyelids. It can be present at birth or can occur later in life, however, infants with drooping eyelids suffer with a form of the condition called congenital ptosis. Drooping eyelids can be due to aging, injury, or other disorders. an after effect of eye surgery or a problem with the muscles (elevators) lifting the eyelid in some people. Drooping eyelids can occur in patients with neurological disorder, an eye tumor or systemic disease like diabetes.
Causes and Symptoms of Congenital Ptosis
Congenital ptosis is most often due to an underdeveloped lifting muscle within the eyelid, known as the levator muscle. It is mostly seen as an isolated condition, though some patients have also suffered with other vision problems. It does not typically resolve over time unless the condition is caused as an injury at the time of birth.
Often, children suffering with ptosis will be known to lean their heads back in order to get a better view of something they’re trying to look at. They are also seen to raise their eyebrows in order to lift their affected eyelid or eyelids. If the eyelid droop is severe, a child can often bump into things and may develop slower than others due to visual restriction.
Amblyopia can often develop as a result of poor visual development, a condition where vision is poor or failing in one eye due to lack of development and exercise of the ocular muscles.
Treatment for Congenital Ptosis
Congenital ptosis is typically treated with muscle correcting surgery in which the underdeveloped levator muscle is lifted whilst the child is under general anesthesia. However, if the levator muscle has too little or no function, the eyelid must be suspended to the eyebrow so that the forehead muscle can do the lifting.
- During ptosis repair, an incision is made in the natural crease of the eyelid, and the surgeon goes in to tighten the levator muscle and after surgery, the eyelid should return to normal function, though a small droop may still be visual.
- Following ptosis surgery, a child will experience some discomfort in the eye, including swelling and bruising of the eyelids temporarily. Artificial tears are suggested to be applied regularly, as it will be difficult for a child to fully blink at first, leaving the eye dry. Over the healing process, the ability to use the eyelid in normal function will increase and the dry eye issue will resolve itself.
Ptosis (Drooping Eyelids) in Adults
Ptosis can be due to aging, injury, or other disorders. an after effect of eye surgery or a problem with the muscles (elevators) lifting the eyelid in some people. Drooping eyelids can occur in patients with neurological disorder, an eye tumor or systemic disease like diabetes.
Unilateral ptosis is when one eye has a drooping eyelid, bilateral ptosis occurs in both eyes. Ptosis can be permanent or may come and go.