Eye Doctor Austin | What is Ptosis? | Westlake Eye

What Is Ptosis?

Older woman with Ptosis smiling

Are your eyelids droopy? Are you tired of looking like you’re exhausted all the time?

You may have a condition called ptosis. It’s also known as “pathologic droopy eyelid.” With ptosis, the upper eyelids sag and cover or almost cover up the pupil, causing a sleepy appearance.

Keep reading to learn more about ptosis!

What are the different kinds of ptosis?

Ptosis can sometimes occur at birth. When you have ptosis from birth, it is known as congenital ptosis. It can also develop later in life.

Most of the time, ptosis does not hurt but it can be quite uncomfortable. Ptosis can cause an unusual and exhausted look.

This is due to the droopiness of the eyelids. Ptosis can look different depending on the person.

Ptosis can develop as a result of weak eyelid muscles, called the levator muscles. Your facial anatomy can also cause ptosis, but it is rare.

When only one eye is affected, it is called unilateral ptosis. When both eyes are affected, it is known as bilateral ptosis.

The condition can be temporary, meaning it will come and go after some time. It can also be permanent.

Symptoms of Ptosis

Common symptoms of ptosis include the following:

Sagging of the eyelids

Either one or both of your eyelids will sag. This doesn’t usually hurt. Most times, the eyelid droop is not noticeable. If the condition becomes severe, it can block your vision.

Tired eyes

You may develop watery eyes due to your eyelid touching your cornea. This can make you want to rub your eye which can cause irritation as well as redness.

You may also experience some pain. Ptosis can also cause your eyes to become extremely dry, which may be painful for some patients.

What Causes Ptosis?

Ptosis can develop through natural or hereditary causes. Some people are born with ptosis.

Others find out they have ptosis at a young age. Aging is also known to cause ptosis.

When you age, your skin gets looser. This includes the skin around your eyes.

Certain medical conditions can also cause ptosis. Temporary styes, glaucoma, and nerve injury are all known causes of ptosis.

This is especially true when it affects both eyes. More serious conditions like a stroke or a brain tumor can also cause ptosis.

Cataract surgery has been linked to ptosis. This is because cataract surgery can stretch the tendons and muscles in the eyelids.

How Do You Treat Ptosis?

Treating ptosis depends on what’s causing it and how severe it is. This will usually vary from patient to patient.

If you were born with ptosis or develop it from aging, your ophthalmologist may recommend treatment. Since ptosis may not cause you harm, you may not need treatment. This may be the case especially if it’s not affecting your vision.

If ptosis occurs because of another medical condition, treating the underlying condition will treat your ptosis.

Certain eyeglasses are used to treat ptosis. This is called a ptosis crutch. These glasses hold up the eyelids so that you can see better. This is often the best option if the condition is temporary.

In some cases, you may need surgery. During the procedure, your doctor will tuck back the upper lid muscles, reattach them, and strengthen the eyelid muscles.

Have more questions about ptosis? Schedule an appointment with Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX!