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Ptosis- Drooping Eyelid

What is ptosis?

Ptosis (pronounced toe-sis, the p is silent), is a drooping eyelid.  When the eyelids sag downward.

What causes ptosis?

Drooping eyelids can be caused by several things.


The most common form is from aging.  As we age, the muscle which lifts the eyelid slowly detaches from the cartilage plate in the eyelid.  This can also happen with contact lens wearers, especially with hard contacts.  Also as we age, the skin on the eyelids becomes loose.  This can cause the lids to droop as well.


Children can be born with a muscle in the eyelid which never developed fully.  This will cause one or both eyelids to be “lazy.”

Muscular or Neurologic diseases.

Certain diseases that affect either nerves or muscles can cause the eyelids to droop.  Usually they are droopier as the day progresses.  One such disease is called myasthenia gravis.  Another cause of a drooping eyelid is a stroke or anuerysm.  If double vision or difficulty moving the eye occurs, this is a medical emergency.  You should not wait but go to the emergency room.


What is meant by mechanical?  This means a physical feature of the eyelid or face is causing the eyelid to droop.  A large stye, inflammation or swelling of the eyelid, or other lesion is blocking the eyelid from lifting.

Evaluation of Eyelids

Dr. Velotta will check for each of these causes during your visit.  It is very important to know what is causing the eyelids to droop.  Depending on the cause, the treatment is different in each case.  The doctor will check the pupils, alignment of your eyes and several measurements of the eyelids and assess their function.  Some cases are treated with medications, others with surgery.  If you have noticed a change in your eyelids, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.


For more information on treatments, click here

For more information on eyelid surgery, click here.

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