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Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Definition

Ptosis is a drooping of the upper eyelid over the eye.

Causes

Ptosis may be caused by:

  • The aging process
  • Genetics
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nerve damage
  • Injury

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in older adults. It may also be present at birth.

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Blocked vision
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Tired and achy eyes

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An eye exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Ptosis that does not affect vision does not need to be treated. Some people may have treatment if they do not like the appearance of droopy eyelids.

In others, the goal of treatment is to improve vision. Options are:

  • Medicine to target the muscle to raise the drooping eyelid
  • Blepharoplasty—surgery to remove excess skin and fat tissue from the drooping eyelids

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Ophthalmology  https://www.aao.org 

American Optometric Association  https://www.aoa.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Ophthalmological Society  https://www.cos-sco.ca 

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

References

Ptosis. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/ptosis. Accessed May 18, 2021.

Ptosis—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/ptosis-approach-to-the-patient. Accessed May 18, 2021.

What is ptosis? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-ptosis. Accessed May 18, 2021.

Revision Information