Ptosis and Dermatochalasis

Ptosis means that the upper eyelid is “droopier” than normal. This condition can affect one or both eyes. It can cause symptoms of difficulty reading or driving, particularly at night or in lowlight conditions, and even headache from constant use of the forehead muscles to compensate for the droopy lid. In children, this can cause permanent visual loss if there is obstruction of the pupil. This is why children with ptosis need to be assessed and treated as early as possible.

There are many causes of ptosis including myasthenia gravis, nerve palsy, trauma, or orbital tumors, but the most common cause is age-related weakening of the muscle responsible for lifting the eyelid.

Dermatochalasis means there is excess upper eyelid skin that hangs over the eyelashes and eyelid margin. This is usually due to decreased skin elasticity from aging, but can also be due to previous episodes of swelling, e.g. from trauma.

Blepharoplasty and/or concomitant ptosis repair can be performed to correct for these problems. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and require about 1-2 weeks for resolution of swelling and bruising. Often these procedures are covered by insurance, if there is significant visual obstruction caused by the eyelid obscuring the pupil. These surgeries can also be performed as cosmetic procedures where fat debulking or repositioning can help rejuvenate one’s appearance. (See before and after section for photos of actual patients.)