Ptosis or blepharoptosis is a very common problem associated with aging. It may even be present at birth. The following article will help you understand all about this condition.
Commonly known as drooping eyelid, ptosis of the eye can affect one or both the eyes. Many times the droop is absolutely unnoticeable, and sometimes it may cover the entire pupil. It can affect both children and adults. In children, this condition needs to be treated at an early age or it may interfere with the development of their vision. Sometimes, ptosis only changes a person’s appearance without affecting the vision. However, in other cases, it can be a warning sign that indicates a more serious condition which might affect the functioning of the muscles, nerves, brain, or eye socket.
This disorder can either be congenital or acquired. The former is present from birth whereas the latter occurs later in life. Congenital ptosis is most commonly caused due to poor development of the levator palpebralis muscle in the upper eyelid. One or more of the following vision problems may accompany blepharoptosis in childhood:
- Astigmatism (refractive error)
- Obstruction of the visual axis
- Chin up head position
Acquired ptosis causes include:
- Aponeurotic ptosis or age-related ptosis: Aging causes the stretching of a wide, tendon-like tissue that helps the levator muscle lift the eyelid.
- Neurological conditions: Injury to the brain or its cranial nerves can cause drooping eyelids since the eyes muscles are controlled by the nerves from the brain.
- Myasthenia gravis: This is a rare disorder that can cause progressive muscle weakness in the eyelids.
- Progressive external ophthalmoplegia: This is a group of muscles diseases that can lead to blepharoptosis in both the eyes.
- Local trauma: An infection or tumor of the eyelid, a tumor inside the eye socket, or a blow to the eye can also contribute to this condition.
Drooping eyelid is the most obvious and common symptom. The severity of the drooping leads to the amount of vision problems a person may experience. Many people tilt their heads backwards to be able to see from under their eyelids.
If you feel that you too are experiencing drooping of the eyes, just compare an old photograph of yours with a recent one. You will find the difference in the eyelid elevation clearly.
Surgery helps correct the drooping eyelids. The levator muscles are tightened so that they help lift the eyelids, and thus give an improved vision and appearance. Many times the eyelids are attached under the eyebrow, allowing the forehead muscles to substitute the levator muscles and lift the eyelid. After the surgery, the eyelids may not look symmetrical, and rarely someone may lose eyelid movement.
The surgery includes:
- Muller muscle resection
- Levator resection
- Frontalis sling operation
The use of ‘crutch’ glasses or special scleral contact lenses that support the eyelid may be advised as a non-surgical treatment.
A drooping eye that develops suddenly over a period of a few days or hours is a serious cause of concern. If the droopy eye is accompanied by double vision, weakness of facial muscles, weakness in the arms or legs, difficulty speaking or swallowing, severe headache, eye infection, pain and redness in the eye, fever, or difficulty moving the eye, then consult your doctor immediately.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.