The medical term for drooping eyelids is ptosis (toe-sis). Patients with ptosis are not able to lift one or both upper eyelids, preventing the eye from opening completely. Additionally, the condition may cause eye strain, headaches and eyebrow fatigue due to the increased effort needed to raise your eyelids. Eye fatigue, especially when reading, is also commonly experienced.
What causes ptosis?
Ptosis can either develop later in life (acquired ptosis) or can be present at birth (congenital ptosis). Often, surgical correction of the condition is done for cosmetic benefits. Despite the effects on appearance however, ptosis can also result in a loss of the superior (upper) field of vision. If the condition is present at birth and goes untreated, patients may suffer from permanent vision damage because the healthy eye does all the work while the affected eye degenerates.
What does surgery entail?
Ptosis surgery aims to elevate the upper eyelid to restore normal field of vision and achieve symmetry with the opposite upper eyelid. These goals depend on many factors, and therefore, may not always be possible to achieve during surgery.
Almost all ptosis surgery in adults is performed as day case surgery with local anaesthesia and sedation that is monitored by an anaesthetist. The local anaesthetic is injected into the eyelids, usually with additional sedation given intravenously to decrease pain.
The eyelid structures are opened, and sutures are placed to tighten the muscle that raises the eyelid. Usually, we help patients assume a sitting position so we can adjust the position of the eyelids raised against the force of gravity and be certain that the eyelids will be able to close sufficiently. The skin is then sutured after having removed any excess skin and fat. Ointment is placed in the eyes and you will be taken to the recovery area. Ice packs are given for comfort, and you will be discharged when ready.
After ptosis surgery there will be some swelling and bruising. Cold compresses and elevation of the head are recommended to relieve any discomfort. Sutures will be removed approximately one week after the surgery.
“Vision is the true creative rhythm”
- Robert Delaunay