Has someone recently expressed to you that your eyes look sleepy? Have you looked into the mirror and noticed one of your eyelids “drooping”? You don’t feel any pain but of course it blocks your vision and makes you feel impaired. You prefer to stay home because you find it difficult to climb up and down the stairs due to impaired vision.
The medical term for such a condition where your upper eyelids sag so much so it affects your vision is “ptosis”. It may be painless and make your vision blurry or sometimes painful causing headaches, numbness of facial muscles or watery eyes.
Ptosis isn’t a condition in itself but is a symptom of a condition which requires medical attention and should not be ignored to regain normal vision and achieve ADL (activities of daily living).
What causes Ptosis?
- Stroke, brain tumor, or cancer of the nerves or muscles
- Neurological disorders that affect the communication process of the nerves or muscles of the eyes (such as myasthenia gravis)
- Disorder involving the muscles that cause movement of the eyelids up and down (levator muscles) or its nerve supply or simply its poor development
- Weak levator muscles due to aging or injury
- Diabetes or similar chronic diseases
Along with all symptoms mentioned in the beginning of this article, frequent head tilting or eyebrow-raising may indicate ptosis is hampering normal vision.
How do I know I have ptosis?
The first step to know whether you have ptosis is to check yourself for the symptoms as discussed previously. If you have the slightest confusion, it is advisable to visit your doctor immediately. It is recommended to get one’s eyes tested once every year.
A vision test using an eye-chart to help ascertain the occurrence ptosis and whether it is affecting a person’s vision is recommended by American Association of Opthalmology. However, since ptosis is only a symptom, the underlying cause for it should be determined to prevent its recurrence.
Detection of chronic diseases like diabetes or any other autoimmune disease can help determine the cause of ptosis. To find out whether there is any kind of abnormality in the structure around the eyes, the doctor may perform an X-ray.
Treatment for eyelids drooping
Treatment depends on the type of ptosis and is usually performed by an ophthalmic plastic and re-constructive surgeon, specializing in diseases and problems of the eyelid.
Non-surgical modalities like the use of “crutch” glasses or special Scleral contact lenses to support the eyelid may also be used. Ptosis that is caused by a disease will improve if the disease is treated successfully.