Ptosis is medical condition affecting the upper eyelids that causes them to droop down abnormally. Affected individuals will typically have a “tired” appearance as their upper eyelids are unable to open completely. In severe cases vision may be obstructed as patients will struggle to open their eyes fully, and will have to tilt their head back to see clearly.
Causes of Ptosis
Ptosis can have a multitude of causes, which can be congenital/hereditary or acquired.
The most common cause of ptosis is a weak or damaged Levator aponeurosis muscle (the muscle that lifts your upper eyelids). This can have several reasons:
• Weakening of the muscle due to aging
• Damage from trauma and/or disease
• Birth defects
Additionally, excessive and prolonged use of contact lenses can stretch the upper eyelids and make them extend over the eyes more than usual, even the with fully functional Levator aponeurosis muscles.
The severity of ptosis can be measured by the distance between the edge of the upper eyelid and the centre of the pupil. Depending on the severity, the complexity of the correction surgery may vary.
Ptosis can be easily corrected via blepharoplasty, which is surgery performed on the eyelids.
In this procedure, performed under local or general anaesthesia, the surgeon will make an incision on the upper eyelid. From this incision, excess skin, muscle, fat and other tissue are removed. Some muscles may be reattached here if necessary. Finally, the incision is sutured shut.
It is worth noting that the surgery procedure for ptosis correction is very similar, or even identical to the incisional double eyelid surgery. Hence patients may want to consider if they want to combine the 2 procedures together for an enhanced appearance.
The whole procedure will usually last no more than an hour, and patients can be discharged soon after the anaesthesia wears off.
Possible risks and complications
Upper blepharoplasty is typically a low risk, outpatient procedure that is unlikely to cause complications when performed by a skilled, experienced and reputable plastic surgeon.
Complications may include but are not limited to the following:
- Excessive bleeding
- Inflammation and infection
- Asymmetrical eyes
- Distortions during healing process
- Complications with anaesthesia
These are rare, but important to take into account when considering surgery.
Double eyelid glue/stickers should be avoided for at least 2 weeks pre-surgery. This will allow your eyes to be in the most natural state during the surgery and allows the surgeon to perform accurate corrections.
Avoid tobacco and smoking for about a month before the procedure.
Inform the doctor of any medication or health supplements you are taking during consultation. As with most surgical procedures, blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs should cease about a month before the procedure.
Avoid putting cosmetic products around the eyes (eyeliner, eyeshadow etc) around your eyes for up to 2 weeks post procedure to facilitate the healing process.
Contact lenses should be avoided for several days after the procedure if possible. This will prevent distortions from occurring during the healing process.
Avoid exerting excessive force around the eye area (rubbing of eyes etc) until the wounds are completely healed.
If your ptosis is mild, it is possible to correct it using the Double Suture and Twist (DST) method. However, the sutures used to support the eyelids may break, reversing the correction. Blepharoplasty is a more permanent solution and is usually recommended over this.
For more severe cases, DST is unable to provide sufficient correction and cannot be used.