Ptosis, which refers to drooping eyelid(s), is said to occur when the edge of the upper eyelid falls to a position that is lower than normal. In severe cases, it could cover all or part of the pupil, which in turn can cause vision problems. Moreover, ptosis can also be a cause of cosmetic concern in severe cases. Ptosis appears more prominent when it affects only one eyelid, as the difference is easy to detect by comparing the affected eyelid with the normal eyelid. In some cases, the eyelid might droop due to the weakness of the levator muscle. In such cases, performing certain exercises might prove beneficial. In adults, this condition is more likely to occur when the muscle attachment has slipped. It could also be caused due to neurological conditions. In such cases, performing eyelid exercises will not provide the desired results, and surgery is the most suitable option.
The drooping of the eyelid is the characteristic symptom of ptosis, and the severity of the condition is determined by the extent to which the eyelid droops. Besides the sagging of the eyelid, this condition could also be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Eye fatigue
- Eyestrain/headache due to continuous squeezing of forehead
- Increased tearing
- Blurred vision/double vision
- Tilting of head in chin up position
- Raising of the eyebrow to lift the affected eyelid
- Attempt to see properly by lifting up the eyelid with a finger
While the eyelid might sometimes droop due to less serious conditions such as a stye, ptosis is a condition that could be congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life. In case of congenital ptosis, hereditary factors might be responsible for the poor development of the levator muscle. It could develop later due to the separation of the levator muscle (muscle that helps lift the eyelid). This could occur due to:
- Trauma due to head injury
- Normal aging process
- Nerve injury
- Complication of a cataract surgery or corrective eye surgery
It could also be a symptom of neurological conditions such as:
- Myasthenia gravis
- Horner's syndrome
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Tumor affecting the muscles and nerves of the eye
The treatment starts once the underlying cause of drooping eyelid is determined. If the condition is age-related, then a plastic surgeon can rectify the problem by raising the eyelid surgically. If a baby is born with congenital defect of drooping eyelid, the doctor recommends a prompt corrective surgery to prevent the condition from worsening. If the drooping eyelid is due to muscle disease, neurological disease, or eye illness, then the treatment would also involve drug therapy. In some cases, performing the exercises for drooping eyelids might help strengthen the levator muscle, thereby preventing the condition from worsening.
- Place two fingers on the side of your temples and apply pressure. Rapidly close and open your eyes. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Sit upright and look straight. Keep your eyes open and look up and then down without moving your head.
- Sit upright and look ahead. Keep your eyes open and look to your left and then to your right, without moving your head.
- Sit and look ahead. Now, close your eyes. Look up and then down, without moving your head.
- Sit straight and close your eyes. Look to your left and then right, without moving your head.
- Select a comfortable place, possibly in front of a mirror. Place your index finger under each of your eyebrow. Slowly, lift the eyebrow in the upward direction against the bone of the upper eye socket. Now, slightly lower your upper eyelid. Count till 5 and close your eyelid. Open your eyelid to the count of 6. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times.
- Place your fingers on each temple and slightly pull the eyes towards your ears. Open and close your eyes rapidly for 5-10 times.
- Select a comfortable position to sit. Keep your eyes open and look ahead. Now, raise your eyebrows. At the same time, close the eyelid about halfway. Stop and then lift the eyelids by engaging the muscles of the eyelid and that of underneath the eyebrows. During the second phase of the exercise, you should be able to see the whites of the eyes on top of the pupil. Perform this exercise in front of the mirror till you get accustomed to it. Repeat it 10 times.
If you are expecting results overnight, then these exercises are not meant for you. You need to have patience. Also, it is advisable to seek medical help, as in most cases, ptosis can be corrected mostly by surgery.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.