I noticed my eyelid drooping, how can I tell if it’s ptosis or something else?
Noticed your eyelid drooping? It’s natural to wonder about the cause and if there’s an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. A common cause for a drooping eyelid is ptosis, but how can you tell if it’s ptosis or something else?
Ptosis is the medical term for a drooping upper eyelid, whether it partially or fully covers the eye. There are several causes of ptosis: weakened eyelid muscles, stretched eyelid muscles or even problems with the nerves that control the eyelid muscles. Ptosis may develop gradually over time (as is the case in age-related ptosis) or come on suddenly. Ptosis may affect one or both eyes. Eyelid drooping can be congenital, meaning it is present from birth, or acquired due to aging, trauma, muscular dysfunction or other underlying medical conditions.
To differentiate between ptosis or some other cause of eyelid drooping, you should first observe the symmetry of the eyelids. Ptosis can impact both eyes at the same time, but it typically affects one eye more than the other, resulting in an uneven appearance to the eyelids. If both eyelids are drooping equally, your drooping may have a different cause such as excess skin, excess fat or brow ptosis.
Another way to evaluate the cause of your droopiness is by assessing the function of the eyelids. Ptosis causes a reduction in the normal range of motion of the affected eyelid because there is an underlying difficulty in controlling the eyelid. If you have difficulty fully opening your eye, it is likely ptosis. You may have to raise your eyebrows to compensate for the drooping or even manually lift the eyelid to fully open your eye. While excess skin or fat can cause a droopy appearance to the eye, it does not directly impair eyelid function or the ability to open your eye fully.
Of course, the best way to evaluate if your eyelid drooping is ptosis or something else is by consulting with a doctor. An oculoplastic facial surgeon specializes in eye conditions and has the expertise to differentiate between ptosis and other causes of eyelid drooping. A comprehensive examination will measure eyelid height, assess muscle function in the eye and brow area and evaluate overall facial structure to determine the root cause of your eyelid drooping.
For ptosis, surgical treatment is often necessary to restore the underlying dysfunction and move the eyelid to its correct position. Depending on the severity, non-surgical treatments such as Botox injections may also be recommended. For other causes of eyelid drooping, skin tightening procedures or brow lifts may be the best approach.