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Ptosis

Ptosis is the drooping of the upper eyelid. This may mean only slightly, or it may droop enough too partially or completely cover the pupil, leading to the restricting or obscuring of vision.

What is Congenital Ptosis?
Ptosis is sometimes inherited or occurs later in life. When it is present at birth, it is called congenital ptosis. It can be present in either one or both eyes. Congenital ptosis is the result of poor development of the eyelid lifting muscle, or levator.

This type of ptosis requires treatment to allow for normal visual development, and usually does not improve with time. The most serious problem associated with congenital ptosis is amblyopia. Amblyopia is the result of poor visual development in the early years of life. If not treated accordingly, amblyopia will persist throughout the patient’s life.

How is Congenital Ptosis Treated?
The most effective treatment for ptosis is surgery. The levators are sometimes tightened, or the lid is attached to the brow so that the brow muscles can do the lifting. Depending on the severity of the ptosis, surgery may be required immediately or later in the child’s life. Any child showing symptoms of ptosis should be taken to an ophthalmologist for examination.

What is Adult Ptosis?
When ptosis occurs later in life, it is called adult ptosis. The most common cause of adult ptosis is the separation of the levator muscle tendon from the lid. This is usually due to aging or accidental trauma to the eyes. Other reasons include disease of the levator muscle, diabetes or tumors in the levator area.

How is Adult Ptosis Treated?
Treatment for this type of ptosis is dependent on the causes of the ptosis. Blood tests, X-rays and other tests are used to plan the best type of treatment. Tightening of the levator muscle or reattachment of the muscle are some common surgical ways adult ptosis is treated. Recovery Surgery lasts about 30-45 minutes. One to two weeks are required for recovery. The bruising and swelling will begin to disappear over this period.

What Are the Risks Associated with Ptosis Surgery?
Although negative results are very infrequent, they include infection, blurred vision and/or bleeding. The patient will not be able to fully close their eye following surgery, yet this is commonplace. Perfect symmetry of the eyelids and/or full eyelid movement are sometimes not completely achieved. This can sometimes be corrected with a self-administered eyelid massage or additional surgery.

 

Prevention

Visual field loss and eyestrain due to ptosis can be easily prevented through annual examinations with an ophthalmologist. Some insurance plans fully cover ptosis corrective surgery on a medically necessary basis.