What is ptosis of the eyelids?
Ptosis (pronounced “tosis”) means “to droop”. Droopy upper eyelids are a common condition which can occur with age or can be associated with underlying medical conditions. It is sometimes called blepharoptosis (not to be confused with blepharoplasty – an operation to remove excess upper lid tissue). It is best investigated by eye surgeons who specialise in plastic surgery of the eyes (oculoplastic surgeon).
Then, if a medical condition has been excluded or treated, it can be treated with a small surgical procedure to achieve an excellent aesthetic outcome to the lids whilst performing the safest possible surgery. It is usually performed under local anaesthetic with sedation if required. A general anaesthetic is not usually needed. It can be performed with a blepharoplasty if there is also excess tissue present, in a combined blepharoplasty/ptosis procedure.
What causes a ptosis?
Over time, the muscle that lifts open the upper eyelid (levator palpebrae superioris) stretches and thins, causing the resting position of the eyelid to droop. Previous hard contact lens wear has also been associated with the development of ptosis. The result can be that you use your forehead muscles to compensate to keep the eyes open. This muscle also activates every time you blink to open the eye and so is very active over time. The forehead muscles cannot maintain the effort needed to keep the eyes more open as the day progresses and you may find that the eyes are droopier later in the day, or that using the forehead muscles in this way causes a headache.
You may find that lifting the eyelids with a finger allows in more light. Some patients find that their vision can be affected and the droopy eyelid and rest lower on the clear window of the eye (cornea) causing the light to bend as the cornea distorted from its normal position (astigmatism). Finally, the droopy position of the eyelids can make you feel more tired, and some patients say that people ask them why they are so tired looking, when they actually feel fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Complications and problems after ptosis surgery are very rare and as eye surgeons, we are very careful to avoid them. We like you to be fully aware of these before undergoing surgery.
Contact Mr Das-Bhaumik’s team immediately on 07887 387 000 or 020 7127 8100 if excessive swelling, bruising, discomfort occurs or a discharge is seen. Alternatively, Moorfields has a 24-hour A&E where he is an emergency consultant, and they know to contact Mr Das-Bhaumik if any of his patients attend
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