Droopy Eyelids (Ocular Plastics)

Some conditions, like droopy eyelids, can gradually interfere with your eyesight. Not only do droopy eyelids make you look sad or tired, they can actually limit your field of vision. There are two eye conditions that can cause your eyelids to droop and reduce your vision: dermatochalasis and ptosis.


Dermatochalasis is an eye condition characterized by excessive skin on the eyelid. This can be seen on the upper or lower eyelid but is more common on the upper eyelid. It is usually associated with older age when skin loses elasticity, but younger individuals can be affected by dermatochalasis as well. Other causes may include weakened connective tissue, genetics, thyroid eye disease, renal failure, and eye trauma. A mild to moderate case of dermatochalasis can make you just look tired or sad, but an advanced case can actually impair your vision, especially peripheral vision. Dermatochalasis is very noticeable because of the folded, baggy skin on the eyelids that make your eyes appear puffy or swollen. Further symptoms may include difficulty reading, loss of peripheral vision, elevating the brows to improve vision, frontal headaches, dry eye, eye irritation, and dermatitis.

Ptosis (short for blepharoptosis) is another eye condition that causes drooping of the eyelid. While dermatochalasis is caused by excessive skin on the eyelid, ptosis is typically caused by muscle weakness. When the levator muscle in the eyelid is not working effectively, the lid margin begins to droop down into the vision. Ptosis can occur at birth (congenital ptosis) or develop due to the aging process. It can also be caused by paralysis (such as Bell's palsy), nerve damage or migraines. One of the most common symptoms of this eye condition is tilting your head back to try to see under the drooping lid or raising your eyebrows repeatedly to try to lift the eyelids.

How to Treat Droopy Eyelid
Most cases of dermatochalasis and ptosis are corrected with surgery by an ophthalmologist, but the procedures will be different. Dermatochalasis is corrected by blepharoplasty, an eyelid revision procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the eyelid to improve vision and rejuvenate the appearance of the eye. Blepharoplasty restores a more youthful look to your face and opens up the eye by removal of excess tissue.

Ptosis surgery often involves tightening the levator muscles to lift your eyelids and improve your vision as well as your appearance. In very severe cases, your surgeon may attach the eyelid to the forehead to allow your forehead muscles to help the levator lift the eyelid. One side effect may be that your eyelids may not be exactly symmetrical even though the lids are higher than before surgery.

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.