Ptosis | Ophthalmology | Loyola Medicine


Overview and Facts about Ptosis

Ptosis is an ophthalmological condition in which your upper eyelid droops. If the eyelid droops far enough and covers your pupil, you may have difficulty seeing. While many people view this issue only as a cosmetic problem, it can sometimes be a sign of a medical condition. 

Ptosis can affect both children and adults. Some children are born with the condition, but most cases of ptosis develop due to aging. As you become older, the muscles in your eyelids may grow weaker over time. Illness or injury to the eye can also cause the muscles around your eye to deteriorate. 

Signs and Symptoms of Ptosis

The most noticeable symptom of ptosis is usually a drooping upper eyelid on one or both eyes. Your eyelid may block your vision, and you might find it difficult to see clearly. Many people with ptosis try to raise their eyebrows or push their eyelids up to achieve better vision.

Sometimes ptosis signals a more significant health problem, such as diabetes or a tumor. If this is the case, you may notice symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dark spots in your vision
  • Pressure behind the eyes
  • Dry or itchy eyes
  • Eye strain
  • Headache

It's best to consult a doctor whenever you notice any changes to your vision.

Causes and Risk Factors of Ptosis

Ptosis is most common among older people. In age-related ptosis, the condition develops when the eyelid muscles become weaker over time. Other medical problems that can cause ptosis include:

  • Injury to the face or eye
  • Surgery around the eye area
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Tumors

Tests and Diagnosis of Ptosis

Most doctors can diagnose ptosis with a brief physical exam. However, because ptosis can be a symptom of other conditions, your doctor may choose to perform more tests. Blood tests, X rays, and other scans can help rule out neurological disorders or tumors.  

If your ptosis developed because of a disease or a recent injury to the eye, you might need special treatment to correct the problem.

Treatment and Care for Ptosis

Surgery can help tighten or repair the muscles around your upper eyelid, to correct the drooping eyelid.. In some cases, your surgeon may need to attach the muscles in your eyelids to another muscle to strengthen them. 

If another medical condition is the cause, your symptoms may improve after the underlying condition is treated. Surgery may not be necessary.