Who gets droopy eyelids?
Droopy eyelids (ptosis) can occur in the young and old and is caused by various factors including:
1) Age-related changes
Age-related ptosis (involutional ptosis) is a condition where the muscle that controls the eyelid weakens with age, leading to a droopy eyelid. It can affect one or both eyelids and may gradually worsen over time. Exact cause of age-related ptosis is not fully understood but it is believed to be a result of our natural ageing process. Genetics and certain medical conditions may also contribute to the development of age-related ptosis.
Treatment options depend on severity of ptosis and the impact on vision and daily activities. In milder cases, no treatment is needed and individuals may choose to live with the appearance of droopy eyelids. But in severe cases where the vision is affected or when there is discomfort, surgery can be considered. Ptosis correction surgery involves tightening the muscles and tissues that support the eyelid and lift them to a more normal position.
2) Congenital ptosis
Congenital ptosis is a condition where there is an abnormal drooping of eyelid on one or both of the upper eyelids at birth. It is due to underdeveloped or absence of one of the eye muscles responsible for lifting the eyelids. Instead of having normal functioning eye muscle to lift the eyelid, it has scar-like tissue that allows little movement of the eyelid.
Children with congenital ptosis often are unable to lift and open the eyelid. The eyelid commonly has little or no crease as the muscle that holds the eyelid is absent. They will also tend to have a chin-up position especially if both eye muscles are affected and their eyebrows need to be arched to force open the eye.
A severe droopy eyelid can affect a child’s visual development and cause a lazy eye (amblyopia) to develop. In such cases, surgical intervention is necessary.
3) Neurological conditions
Certain neurological conditions such as myasthenia gravis or Horner’s syndrome can cause the eyelid to droop as a result of muscle weakness or nerve damage.
4) Lifestyle factors
Certain habits and behaviour such as excessive rubbing due to dusts or allergies can stretch or damage the eye structures that raise the eyelid. Some lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, contact lens usage (daily stretching of eyelids), poor diet and long hours of sun exposure can contribute to droopy eyelids.
5) Pre-existing medical conditions and ptosis
If you have a family history of ptosis, the chance of getting ptosis will be higher. Diabetic individuals who have uncontrolled sugar levels can cause damage to the eyelid muscles and this can give a droopy eyelid appearance and vision issues.
6) Eye trauma or injury to the eye or eyelid muscle can lead to ptosis.
7) Droopy eyelids can be a complication of an eyelid surgery.