The eyes are often considered the most prominent features of the face. They help define our aesthetic identities and balance our facial structures. They are commonly coined “the windows to the soul” and help to tell our history and convey the deepest emotions.
However, as we age, the skin around our eyes can be the first to show signs of aging making people feel less like themselves and less confident. Ptosis is a drooping or falling of the upper eyelids. Although unnoticeable most of the time, those sleepy-looking eyes or slightly saggy upper eyelids can become severe enough to impact your vision. Fortunately, this condition is treatable and can improve both your vision and appearance.
What is Ptosis?
Most people refer to this eye issue as droopy eyes due to the nature of the upper eyelid “drooping” over the eye. While the condition typically only affects one eye, there are situations where both eyes may be affected. The severity of the condition will vary from patient to patient. For example, the droopiness might cover a bit of the eye, or it could completely hangover and cover the pupil.
In the most severe cases, Ptosis can block the eyes and affect normal vision, which then becomes problematic when you attempt to read or look downwards. Sometimes to compensate for the loss of vision, patients may unintentionally raise their eyebrows, but this is not a solution and will only tire the facial muscles.
Different Types of Ptosis
Ptosis can occur in both children and adults. Below are the most commonly diagnosed types of Ptosis:
- Congenital Ptosis: This condition precisely affects children, and experts say it could be due to problems with the child’s levator muscle. A key symptom is a droopy eye, although some kids could present with an eye crease that does not seem to line up correctly. Mostly, children with this condition end up with lazy eyes or delayed vision. Sometimes, the droopy eye in children comes accompanied by other eye-related issues such as eye muscle diseases.
- Acquired Ptosis: Also known as Involutional Ptosis, this type is diagnosed later in life. This condition is often the result of soft tissues stretching away or separating from the levator muscle. There are various causes and risk factors associated with Acquired Ptosis. For example, it may be the result of aging, injury, nerve damage, or perhaps an underlying condition.
Signs & Symptoms
It can be difficult to determine on your own if you have Ptosis or if you are merely experiencing signs of aging. However, if you notice your vision becoming impaired or a significant sagging in your eyelids, it may be time to schedule a consultation.
Common signs of Ptosis may include:
- Double vision
- Drooping eyelids
- Decreased or impaired vision
- Excessive rubbing of eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Tilting your head or raising your eyebrows to adjust vision
- Watery eyes
During your consultation, your doctor will perform a physical exam based on the medical history you provide and symptoms. Depending on the severity of the case, you may need to undergo further testing, including the Slit Lamp and Tensilon tests. Blood tests and image testing may also come in handy to determine if there is an underlying cause or symptoms.
In minor cases, treatment may not be necessary and can go untreated. However, in moderate to severe cases your doctor may recommend intervention.
Some minor cases may be resolved with Botox injections or medication that tightens the muscles in the upper eyelid. The treatment will often tighten the levator muscle, helping lift the eyes back to their normal position and restoring vision and facial structure.
For more moderate to severe cases, the most common treatment option is surgery. This procedure is typically performed as an outpatient surgery allowing you to return home on the same day. Local anesthesia is used to numb your eye and the area around it. During the surgery, adjustments are made to the eyelid within the crease of your eyelid to raise and restore the normal position. In some instances, eyebrow and forehead muscles may also be used to lift the eyelids.
After the surgery, you may find your vision blurry as a result of the ointment placed on the treated area following the procedure. Dressing is also used to help protect the eye and reduce swelling. Moderate swelling and bruising are expected but should subside within several days.
Ointment and medicated eye drops are often prescribed to prevent dryness and irritation. Follow-up appointments are important in ensuring you are recovering properly and the success of the procedure. If any scarring is present, it should be minimal and well hidden within the crease of your eyelid.
It may take some time before you can return to work, and individual recovery time varies from patient to patient. For patients with particularly manual occupations, it is recommended to wait 1-2 weeks before returning to work. Patients should avoid swimming or strenuous physical activity for at least 7-10 days as it is recommended to keep the area dry for at least 5 days after treatment.
Results from treatment can be remarkable and long-lasting allowing you to restore years of youth back to your eyes and face. The results of surgery can vary, but for most patients, there is no need to undergo a repeat procedure.
For more information on Ptosis or to schedule an appointment, contact Waccamaw Oral Surgery & Medical Spa today.