Author: Dr Branden Seow
Ptosis is a medical term to describe a condition when the upper eyelid droops over the eye. As a result, patients can experience a reduction in vision. Patients can also find it difficult to keep the eyes open and feel the eye strain from increased effort to raise the eyelid to see things. If severe, some patients may even have to tilt the head back to see from under the eyelid.
Children and adults can develop ptosis. Ptosis may happen at birth (congenital) or appear later in life (acquired). The good news is that ptosis can be treated to restore function as well as to improve the cosmesis. In this article, we will explore more on acquired ptosis in adults.
Causes of adult ptosis
There are several causes that can cause acquired ptosis. Ptosis that occurs due to aging, otherwise also known as aponeurotic ptosis or senile ptosis, is the most common type of acquired ptosis and the most common cause of ptosis overall. This happens because the levator muscle (muscle at the upper eyelid) weakness and stretches due to the aging process, thereby resulting in the drooping of the upper eyelid.
Besides aging, the muscle can also be damaged by trauma or injury to the nerves that control the muscle, therefore causing ptosis. Sometimes ptosis can also happen as a side effect from certain eye surgery. Other things like diseases or tumours can also affect the eyelid muscle, causing ptosis. Medical conditions that can cause adult ptosis include third cranial nerve palsy and neurological muscular disorders such as myasthenia gravis and muscle dystrophies. Long term contact lens wear has also been implicated to cause ptosis, due to the repeated insertion and removal of the lens that can cause stretching of the muscle.
Treatment of ptosis
Ptosis Treatment is necessary when the condition affects vision or results in day-to-day limitations to the patient. It can also be indicated if patient is concerned about the aesthetic appearance of the eye. The type of treatment needed depends on the cause of the ptosis.
For ptosis caused by medical conditions like myasthenia gravis, the underly medical condition must be treated to resolve the droopy eyelid. Usually, medicine is prescribed to control the medical condition. An internal medicine specialist is best to be consulted for ptosis caused by medica conditions.
Aponeurotic ptosis or senile ptosis, which is the most common form of ptosis, is frequently repaired by surgery.
At the The Clifford Surgery Clinic, our plastic surgeon can not only address the functional issue of the ptosis, but also the aesthetic component of ptosis repair. The goal of this surgery is typically to tighten the levator muscle that had stretched out due to age or repair the levator aponeurosis, which can help raise the eyelid. At the same time, the surgeon aims to achieve a reasonable amount of symmetry.
Depending on patient’s preference, surgery can be and is usually performed under local anaesthesia. It can be done as an outpatient procedure, which means that the patient can go home on the same day after the surgery.
Feel free to drop by The Clifford Clinic for our doctors to assess your ptosis and to recommend the solution for it!