Ptosis is a condition where the upper eyelid droops. It can affect one or both eyes and may be present from birth or develop later in life. Depending on how severe it is, it may impact vision. Causes include age-related muscle weakness, injury, or medical conditions and treatments.
Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatments available for this condition.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Adrian Rawlinson
Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 30 January 2024
Blepharoptosis, more commonly known as ptosis, is the medical name for the drooping of the upper eyelid, which can happen in one or both eyes. The droop can range from barely noticeable to extremely severe.
In severe cases, the eyelid completely covers the black dot in the middle of your eye, called the pupil. This condition can limit or even fully block normal vision depending on how much the eyelid droops.
There are two types of ptosis of the eyelid. It is either classified as acquired or congenital (present at birth). While there are several known forms of congenital ptosis, acquired ptosis (which appears later in life) is the most common form of the condition.
Ptosis can affect both children and adults. If you are born with ptosis, it is known as congenital ptosis. This occurs due to issues with the levator muscle. The levator muscle is responsible for lifting the upper eyelid and holding it in position.
Children with ptosis may be at risk for vision problems. If the eyelid droops and blocks the vision it can cause amblyopia, also known as a “lazy eye”. If this develops in only one eye, then one eye will have better vision than the other.
If this condition occurs in adulthood or later in life it is called acquired ptosis. This is when the levator muscle stretches and separates from the eyelid. This can be caused by aging, eye injury, or a side effect of certain eye surgery.
It could also occur because of certain diseases that weaken the muscles that lift your eyelids. This happens in some rare muscle conditions such as myasthenia gravis or myotonic dystrophy.
Ptosis could be the result of damage or paralysis of the nerves that control your eyelid muscles such as in third nerve palsy. Finally, the eyelid can also droop if weighed down by a large tumor or swelling present on the eyelid.
Some risk factors for this condition may be:
Unfortunately, most cases of ptosis are difficult to prevent. The good news is that this condition is treatable with eye drops or surgery, depending on the cause.
The most obvious sign of ptosis is the drooping eyelid. Other symptoms include:
Ptosis is classified on a scale from mild to severe:
Mild - There is 1-2mm of droop and some of the iris may be covered by the eyelid.
Moderate - There is 3-4mm of droop and the upper portion of the pupil may be covered by the eyelid.
Severe - There is 4mm or more of droop and a significant portion of the pupil may be covered by the eyelid.
Low-lying eyelid(s) can also interfere with your everyday functions such as reading, driving, or using a computer.
Ptosis can affect your appearance as one eyelid droops lower than the other. This can impact facial features and change your appearance, which can be a concern for many individuals.
People with droopy eyelids may also avoid eye contact due to self-consciousness about the appearance of their eyes. This can affect social interactions and confidence levels.
Overall, this condition can have an impact on your self-esteem and body image. This can be distressing and affect the quality of life for many people.
Eye doctors can typically detect ptosis by the appearance of a drooping eyelid. However, if both eyelids are affected, it may be harder to diagnose.
Diagnosis usually involves reviewing all of your symptoms and performing a complete eye exam. Sometimes blood tests and imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs may be needed.
You may also be asked about your past medical history and any family history of ptosis or inherited muscle diseases. It is important to find the cause of ptosis to recommend the best treatment option.
Treatments usually depend on how severe the condition is. If ptosis doesn’t affect your vision and the appearance doesn’t bother you, you might not need treatment at all. If you choose to have treatments, the options include eye drops or surgery.
Upneeq is the only FDA-approved prescription eyedrop medication available for adults with some forms of acquired ptosis. Upneeq contains the active ingredient Oxymetazoline which targets the muller muscle and makes the eyelid open wider after use. It needs to be used every day to keep working.
These drops may not work for all forms of acquired ptosis, such as those caused by injury or nerve problems. Here at SpeedyHealth, Upneeq is available on prescription from our doctors if they deem it suitable for you.
Surgery could be an option to treat ptosis if it affects your vision. Before the procedure, local anesthesia will be used to numb your eye and the area around your eye. The surgery involves either tightening the levator muscle or attaching the eyelid to other muscles that can help raise it.
As with any type of surgery, there are possible risks and complications. Your surgeon will discuss these with you and explain the benefits versus the risks.
Here at SpeedyHealth, you can purchase the ptosis treatment, Upneeq online. You must first complete an online medical consultation before ordering your treatment.
Our doctors will review your answers to ensure this medication is safe for you to use. If they approve, a prescription will be sent to our pharmacy.
Our pharmacy team will then pack and dispatch your order. This will be sent to your chosen address with speedy delivery.
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