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What Causes Ptosis, and How Is It Corrected?

ptosis before & after illustration

You might not give it much thought, but when you do, you realize how vital your eyes are. Beyond the obvious ability to see, your eyes can also tell others what you’re feeling with just a glance and help you communicate your emotions.

One potentially serious eye issue is ptosis, a condition that causes your upper eyelid to abnormally droop down. In severe cases, it can obstruct your pupil and affect your vision, even keep you from being able to make eye contact with people.

Further, although ptosis isn’t a common condition, it can restrict the development of your eye and perhaps lead to unwanted complications like amblyopia (lazy eye).

Dr. Rand Rogers and his team at Rand Rodgers, MD in New York City and Great Neck, New York, provide superior care for your eyes. We have the expertise and experience to correct your ptosis. If you have it, here’s what you should know.

Ptosis explained

Ptosis, also known as blepharoptosis or eyelid drooping, causes your upper eyelid to sag lower than normal. This long-term condition can be present from birth, develop during infancy, or emerge in later childhood. It can also occur as an adult, or appear due to trauma or certain medical disorders.

Mild ptosis affects only one eyelid, making it noticeably different from the unaffected eye. When it affects both eyelids, your condition may be less obvious.  

Moderate-to-severe cases can cause excessive eyelid drooping that leaves most of the upper iris and a significant portion of the pupil covered.

Causes of ptosis

Ptosis has several possible causes.

Congenital ptosis

Most children with ptosis have the congenital form of the disorder, meaning it was present at birth or developed sometime during infancy. 

Congenital ptosis almost always results from a problem with the levator muscle, which keeps the eyelid lifted when your child’s eyes are open. It can also develop from a nerve problem in the affected eyelid. 

A child with congenital ptosis may also be born with other coexisting eye problems that include eye muscle disease, ocular movement issues, or abnormal growths, such as a tumor of the eyelid.

Disease-related ptosis

Myasthenia gravis is a disorder that affects your muscles’ response to nerves in your eyelids, as well as other areas of the body. It can also cause ptosis. Muscle diseases such as oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy and progressive external ophthalmoplegia can affect your eye motion and also cause ptosis. 

Nerve issues

If you suffer from any conditions that injure the brain, your eye muscles can be affected and lead to ptosis. You can also experience nerve damage from long-term diabetes.

Horner syndrome can cause your pupil to be small and the inability to sweat on one side of your face, which can lead to ptosis. In addition, an eye infection, a growth on your eyelid or inside your socket, or a hit or a punch to the eye can cause ptosis.

Correcting ptosis

If you have a droopy eyelid, it’s important to have Dr. Rodgers check the condition to determine its cause and level of severity. Here at our practice, we almost always recommend blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) to correct moderate or severe cases of ptosis. 

If your ptosis doesn’t interfere with your vision, you may not require immediate treatment. But if it affects your eyesight, we recommend surgery. As long as the ptosis isn’t undermining your vision, you can put off a surgical correction until you’re ready for long-term cosmetic results.

If the condition is interfering with your vision, schedule the surgery as soon as possible to ensure you won’t develop amblyopia in your affected eye or an astigmatism in your unaffected eye.

To learn more about ptosis or to schedule an eye exam, call the location nearest you. You can also book an appointment online or send a message to Dr. Rodgers and the team here on our website.

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