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Ptosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

DR. LIPI MITTAL In Eye Checkup

May 06, 2024 | 3 min read

Have you ever noticed someone whose upper eyelids droop lower than usual? This condition is called ptosis and it’s more than just a cosmetic concern. This blog will explain ptosis causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.


What is Ptosis?

Ptosis (pronounced TOE-sis) is a medical condition characterized by the drooping or sagging of the upper eyelid(s). It occurs when the muscles responsible for lifting the eyelids weaken or malfunction, leading to the eyelid not opening fully. Ptosis can affect one or both eyes and can vary from mild to severe.


What are the Causes of Ptosis?

  • One of the most common ptosis causes is aging. As we age, the muscles and tissues supporting the eyelids may weaken, causing them to droop.
  • Some individuals are born with ptosis due to weak eyelid muscles or abnormal development of the eyelid structures.
  • Trauma to the eye area, such as a blow to the face or surgical procedures, can damage the muscles or nerves controlling eyelid movement, leading to ptosis.
  • Certain neurological conditions, such as myasthenia gravis or Horner’s syndrome, can affect the nerves that control the eyelid muscles, resulting in ptosis.
  • Ptosis can also be a side effect of medical treatments, such as eye surgery or radiation therapy.


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What are the Symptoms of Ptosis?

The primary symptom of ptosis is the noticeable drooping of one or both upper eyelids. Depending on the severity of ptosis, the drooping eyelid may partially or completely cover the pupil, leading to vision obstruction. Other Ptosis symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty keeping the eyes open
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eyebrow strain from constantly raising the eyebrows to lift the eyelids
  • Double vision (in severe cases)

Treatment Options for Ptosis

Ptosis treatments depend on several factors, including the underlying cause, severity of symptoms, and individual preferences. Common treatment options include:

  • Surgery: In some cases that significantly affect vision or cause cosmetic concerns, surgery may be recommended. During ptosis surgery, the surgeon tightens or repositions the eyelid muscles to lift the eyelids to a more normal position.
  • Medication: If ptosis is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as myasthenia gravis, treatment to improve muscle strength and function may be prescribed.
  • Eyelid Crutches: In cases where surgery is not feasible or desired, special devices called eyelid crutches can be used to support the eyelids and improve vision.
  • Eye Exercises: Certain exercises may help strengthen the muscles around the eyes, but their effectiveness may vary, and they are generally more beneficial as a complementary treatment.



Ptosis is characterized by the drooping or sagging of one or both upper eyelids, resulting from weakened or impaired eyelid muscles. It can occur due to various factors, including aging, genetics, injury, or underlying medical conditions affecting the muscles or nerves around the eyes. Treatment options range from surgical intervention to medication, depending on the severity and underlying cause of ptosis. If you experience persistent eyelid drooping or other symptoms associated with ptosis, consult an eye doctor for proper evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations. Early detection and intervention can help prevent complications and improve overall eye health and quality of life.

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