Ptosis is the medical term for drooping of the upper eyelid. Lowering of the upper eyelid may cause a decrease in the field of vision. Ptosis commonly causes complaints of asymmetry in pictures and patients feel the drooping makes them look sleepy or tired. As the drooping progresses, difficulty keeping the eyes open, eyestrain, brow ache, and difficulty reading is common.

What are causes of ptosis?

There are many causes of ptosis, age-related weakening of the muscle, congenital weakness, trauma, or neurologic disease. As we age, the tendon that attaches the levator muscle, the major muscle that lifts the eyelid, can stretch and the eyelid falls. This is the most common cause of a droopy eyelid in adults however; ptosis may also occur following routine eye surgery (cataract surgery), or long-term contact lens wear.  Ptosis can be present at birth (congenital ptosis) and can require early intervention to prevent vision loss in young children.

Ptosis in Children

Ptosis in children or congenital ptosis is usually seen at birth or early infancy and is caused by improper development of the muscle that lifts the eyelid (levator muscle). Congenital ptosis may be associated with other conditions such as a lazy eye (strabismus) or poor vision development (ambylopia). Congenital ptosis is corrected surgically. Different surgical repair techniques are used based on the severity of the drooping lid, degree of muscle function, and whether the ptosis is on one or both sides. In severe cases of congenital ptosis, a child may require two or three procedures to obtain a proper functional result.

How is ptosis treated?

Ptosis is corrected surgically unless there is an underlying neurological disorder. The goal of ptosis surgery is to elevate the upper eyelid to a more normal lid height, allowing a full field of vision and creating symmetry with the opposite upper eyelid. Aside from improving the vision, ptosis surgery also enhances a patient’s cosmetic appearance giving them a less tired, more rejuvenated appearance.

How is ptosis surgery performed?

Dr. Lissauer performs ptosis surgery on adults and older children as an outpatient procedure at The Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York with local sedation administered by an anesthesiologist. In young children and infants, general anesthesia is required however; the surgery is still outpatient, going home the same day. Generally the procedure is about one to two hours.

What should I expect after ptosis surgery?

Bruising, swelling, and tightness are normal after ptosis surgery and typically take one to two weeks to resolve. Sunglasses or tinted lenses can help to hide bruising. Make-up can also be used to cover bruising but should not be used on or near the eyelid the first two weeks after surgery.

Sutures are usually removed six days after surgery and most patients are able to resume normal activities within one week and are usually able to return back to work in seven to ten days. Light exercise can usually be resumed within seven days and full exercise within two weeks. Contact lens wear can be resumed six weeks after surgery.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lissauer regarding upper eyelid ptosis surgery, please contact our New York office at:212-717-2150 for an appointment.