How are drooping eyelids treated?

Ptosis (drooping) of the upper eyelids occurs in two forms: congenital (something you are born with) and acquired. Both types of ptosis result from a malfunction of the small muscles (named levator palpebrae superioris) that hold up the upper eyelids when we are awake and not blinking; the nature of the malfunction is different between congenital and acquired ptosis. The only effective treatments for either kind of ptosis are surgical. Exercises and supplements will not help ptosis.

Dr. Ross Rudolph, MD
Plastic Surgeon

It’s a fact of life: Over time we begin to sag. One place this is most apparent is in the upper eyelids, which tend to thin with age and lose elasticity.

As a result, the eyelids look droopy, even sleepy, which can accentuate the appearance of aging. Some people ask about Botox, but that does not help drooping eyelids.

Various kinds of eyelid lifts are available, however. Surgery removes excess skin, and sometimes excess muscle and fat, from the upper eyelids. While this is often a cosmetic procedure, if the eyelids are sagging too much and blocking vision, insurance may cover the costs of surgery.

It’s important to carefully consider which approach to choose. Remember, all medical procedures come with some risk. Your plastic surgeon can help you sort through the options.

Dr. Laura C. Fine, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

If a droopy eyelid (ptosis) is unattractive or interferes with vision and is not caused by a treatable disease, you may want to consider surgical repair. The ptosis repair procedure removes excess tissue and lifts the lid. It can be performed under local or general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Many health insurers will cover this operation only if the ptosis is affecting your vision. Your ophthalmologist or ocuplastic specialist can determine whether this is the case.

Dr. Gary S. Hirshfield, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Drooping upper eyelids is a condition called blepharoptosis and can be congenital or acquired. One cannot rule out other conditions so a full ophthalmologic exam is recommended to determine treatment.  Finally, if no disease is diagnosed then cosmetic eyelid surgery can be considered.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.