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Ptosis Definition

By kep2020 April 20, 2022

Ptosis definition is when the upper eyelid droops, sometimes restricting or blocking vision. Ptosis may result from damage to the nerve that controls the muscles of the eyelid, problems with the muscle strength, attachment issues between the eyelid muscle and the eye lid or from swelling of the lid. One or both eyes may be affected. Although ptosis affects adults due to age, children can be born with this condition as well. 

The most common cause for ptosis in children is when the muscles that elevates the eyelid, also known as the levator palpebrae superioris, does not develop well. In children, ptosis symptoms often include eyes that do not line up, double, blurred, or distorted vision, eye strain, headaches, dizziness, as well as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Eyelid drooping that occurs at birth or within the first year is called congenital ptosis. Most cases of congenital ptosis are considered mild to moderate and do not require treatment. The progression, if any, will be monitored with routine checkups unless elective surgery is desired. Children who have ptosis may also develop amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. This disorder can also delay or limit their vision. Some types of ptosis can affect the light-sensitive part of the eye, also known as retinopathy. Children with ptosis often need to tilt their head back to see better, resulting in neck and back issues over time.

Acquired ptosis affects adults as they age and can be caused by neurologic conditions that affect the nerves or muscles of the eye. These include myasthenia gravis, progressive external ophthalmoplegia, Horner syndrome and third cranial nerve palsy. The ptosis may be combined with an eye movement disorder resulting in double vision. An eyelid growth or stye can also cause ptosis. Sagging eyelids are also a potential aftereffect of corrective eye procedures such as cataract or LASIK surgery.

Droopy eyelids from ptosis can be treated with surgery options like an upper blepharoplasty or ptosis repair. These procedures involve tightening the levator muscles and sometimes removing extra skin, fat and tissue in the eyelid to allow the eyelid to adequately and properly lift and open. 

Our team at Kevin Perman, MD will gladly assist you in understanding more about the ptosis definition and how ptosis may be affecting you.