Maybe you’ve heard your mom or grandma lament their drooping eyelids. It wasn’t something you worried about until you noticed the same thing with your eyes. It can be more than a problem when you put on eye makeup. Your health can be affected in ways you might not realize.
Primary reasons for Ptosis
Ptosis, or drooping eyelids, can occur in all ages, and often babies are born with it. It can also come on in young children due to an underlying muscle issue. It occurs when the muscle of the eye is not strong enough to open and close the lid all the way. It is frequently congenital and usually only affects one of the child’s eyes. It can be left alone if sight is not interrupted and can be addressed for cosmetic reasons down the road. It can be done right away if the baby’s sight does seem to be impaired.
The drooping that people start noticing as they get older is common and is probably what is called aponeurotic ptosis. Gravity is the main culprit here, and it may affect both eyes but with varying degrees of droop. Vanity may take a hit, but there is no danger as long as vision is not impaired.
Drooping eyelids can be an early sign of myasthenia gravis. This is a relatively rare progressive disease that affects muscles throughout the body. It can be congenital but is not always. Eye lid drooping is only one of the symptoms that can include double vision, muscle weakness of the face and weakness of the upper and lower extremities.
Brain injury or a condition involving nerves in the brain can cause one or both of the eyelids to droop. The drooping can be a precursor of something more serious like a tumor, aneurysm or damaged nerves due to disease. People who suffer from diabetes frequently have drooping eyelids. A lung tumor on a lung, specifically Horner syndrome, can cause one eyelid to droop. Horner syndrome can also cause other asymmetrical signs such as a tiny pupil as well as no perspiration regardless of the temperature and straight hair on one side of the head and face.
Eye drooping might occur when there is damage or disease of the eye. Something as relatively simple to treat like an infection may be the cause, or it could be a tumor in the eye socket.
Treatment for Ptosis
Dealing with drooping eyelids can be as simple as ignoring it and chalking it up to added character in an aging face. Surgical intervention can be done on an outpatient basis by tightening the muscle that moves the eyelid up and down. There are usually few aftereffects in cases where the only problem is droopy eyelids. Other potential aftereffects include a scratched cornea or dry eye that was not evident before surgery.
Conditions that go further that a droopy eyelid may require treatment that will need to take other comorbidities into consideration. Ocular myasthenia gravis is rare but can be the cause of droopy eyelids and double vision. Facial paralysis is a commonly found in patients with MG. Eyelids can be surgically lifted in an effort to improve eyesight as well self worth amidst the other debilitating aspects of this disease.
Horner syndrome is incurable though lifting of the eyelid muscles can be done when a drooping lid impedes vision. Though possibly a relatively minor issue in light of this life-threatening disease, whatever steps possible to improve the patient’s outlook on life can be greatly effective.
Drooping eyelids could be for any number of reasons, not all of them serious. Other symptoms can be indicative of a more complex issue, so a call to the doctor can help rule out a potentially life-altering diagnosis and ease a worried mind.