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Ptosis is an eye condition where the eyelid droops. When it occurs in one eye it is unilateral ptosis, and when it occurs in both eyes it is bilateral ptosis. If present at birth it is called congenital ptosis. But if developed later in life, it is acquired ptosis. While not life-threatening, the droop could be low enough to block the pupils, thus severely affecting the person’s ability to see.


There are two broad ways one can be affected by ptosis.

Acquired Ptosis

It can be caused by ageing, trauma or other medical disorders. A doctor would need to examine the eye and run some tests to determine what the exact cause is in each case.

Males and females can be affected by ptosis. It is more common in adults because of how the ageing process can affect the levator muscles. These are the muscles that lift the eyelids. As people age, the muscles get stretched and the result is weakened levator muscles which can no longer raise the upper eye lids.

Young children could be affected by it as well. Their cases are often caused by trauma or neurological reasons.

Congenital Ptosis

Also, babies can be born with the condition if their levator muscles did not develop properly.


Possible symptoms include:

  • The affected eyelid sags.
  • Swelling on the eyelid.
  • Extremely dry or watery eyes.
  • The face looks tired.
  • Tilting head back to see clearly.

One reason to see a doctor is to ensure that there are no underlying conditions. If there are migraine headaches or other issues alongside the drooping eyes, see a doctor.


The condition can be reversed naturally or with medical intervention. The treatment prescribed by the doctor will depend on the unique circumstance of each case.

  • Nothing might be done if the droop is not severe enough to obscure their vision
  • If it is caused by underlying conditions, those conditions will be treated and the droop should naturally disappear.
  • If the droop is severe enough to block the vision, then surgery might be recommended
  • Special glasses to hold the eyelids up (a ptosis crutch) are alternatives for people who cannot have the surgery. It is also helpful for temporary ptosis.

Ptosis cannot be prevented. It can only be managed when diagnosed, so it is important to visit the doctor as early as possible once a symptom is noticed. While it is not harmful to health, it might be a sign of an underlying ailment and so must be taken seriously. Also long term obscuring of the eyes especially in children can lead to life long irreversible reduced vision.  Contact us for more eye health information.