Carolinas HealthCare System

Health Information - Disease

Search Health Information   
 

Ptosis

Definition

Ptosis is also called "drooping eyelid." It is caused by weakness of the muscle responsible for raising the eyelid, damage to the nerves that control those muscles, or looseness of the skin of the upper eyelids.

Alternative Names

Drooping eyelids

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Drooping eyelid can be caused by the normal aging process, a congenital abnormality (present before birth), or the result of an injury or disease.

Risk factors include aging, diabetes, stroke, Horner syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and a brain tumor or other cancer, which can affect nerve or muscle reactions.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

  • A physical examination to determine the cause
  • Special tests may be done to evaluate suspected causes, such as myasthenia gravis

Treatment

If an underlying disease is found, the treatment will be specific to that disease. Most cases of ptosis are associated with aging and there is no disease involved.

Surgery can be done to improve the appearance of the eyelids in milder cases if the patient wants it. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct interference with vision. In children with ptosis, surgery may be necessary to prevent amblyopia.

Expectations (prognosis)

The expected outcome depends on the cause of the ptosis. Surgery is usually very successful in restoring appearance and function.

Complications

If a drooping eyelid is left uncorrected in a child, it can lead to lazy eye.

Calling your health care provider

Drooping eyelids in children require prompt evaluation by an ophthalmologist.

New or rapidly changing ptosis in adults requires prompt evaluation by an ophthalmologist.

References

Custer PL. Blepharoptosis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.5.


Review Date: 8/3/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 
About Carolinas HealthCare System
Who We Are
Leadership
Community Benefit
Corporate Financial Information
Diversity & Inclusion
Annual Report
Foundation
Patient Links
Pay Your Bill
Hospital Pre-Registration
Patient Rights
Privacy Policy
Financial Assistance
Quality & Value Reports
Insurance
Careers
Join Carolinas HealthCare System
Physician Careers

For Employees
Carolinas Connect
Connect with Us
Watch Carolinas HealthCare on YoutubeFollow Carolinas HealthCare on TwitterLike Carolinas HealthCare on FacebookContact Carolinas HealthCareJoin Carolinas HealthCare on LinkedInGo to our mobile website.