Droopy Eyelids (Ptosis)



Drooping eyelids are a common eye condition which may influence you to consider ocular plastic surgery. As you age, you see the effects of gravity on your skin. Delicate tissues around the eyes lose elasticity, and skin can accumulate above or below the eyes, making you look older and fatigued. Sagging skin can also interfere with your vision.

Dermatochalasis is an eye condition caused by excessive skin around your upper eyelid, lower eyelid or both. It is usually associated with older age, but younger individuals can be affected by dermatochalasis as well. Dermatochalasis tends to cause more problems on the upper eyelid because it can obstruct your visual field.

Causes of Dermatochalasis

The most common cause of dermatochlasis is the aging process. Other causes include:

  • Weakened connective tissue
  • Genetics
  • Thyroid eye disease
  • Renal failure
  • Trauma

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Dermatochalasis

Besides the physical symptom of a drooping lid, there may be several other symptoms of dermatochlasis, such as:

  • Difficulty reading
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Elevating the brows to improve vision
  • Frontal headaches
  • Dry eye
  • Eye irritation
  • Dermatitis

Other Causes of Droopy Eyelid

Another eye condition that is similar to dermatochalasis is ptosis (short for blepharoptosis). While both conditions can result in a drooping eyelid, ptosis is caused by muscle weakness, paralysis (such as Bell’s palsy), or nerve damage instead of excessive skin. Ptosis can be present at birth (congenital ptosis) or develop gradually due to aging, injury or an eyelid tumor. The treatment for ptosis is surgery. Ptosis surgery requires adjusting the position of one of the two muscles which elevate the eyelid. Dermatochalasis is repaired through the removal of fat and excessive skin around the eye, which creates an eyelid lift.


Blepharoplasty, or revision of the upper or lower eyelid, is a common procedure performed to treat droopy eyelids. The surgery involves removal of excess eyelid skin and fat. Depending on your situation, this outpatient procedure can be done for cosmetic reasons or to improve your vision. If the eyelids are droopy enough to reduce your field of vision, then this procedure may be covered by your health insurance.

If you are experiencing droopy eyelids and you are noticing a difference in your vision, contact your eye care specialist for more information about the best course of treatment to improve your eyesight.

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