Ask the Eye Doctor

Droopy Eyelids

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Q: My eyelids have started to get droopy and are beginning to interfere with my vision.  It seems that I’m looking through my eyelashes when driving, reading, and watching TV.  Sometimes they even close on their own.  What can I do to fix this problem?

A:
When patients present with droopy eyelids I usually look at three different areas around the eye – the eyebrows, the fold of skin above the lids (also known as dermatochalasis), and the edge of the eyelids from where the eyelashes originate (also known as ptosis).  A droopy eyelid may be the result of one, two, or all three of these areas contributing to the problem.  A consultation with an ophthalmic plastic surgeon is necessary to determine the best way to completely address the condition.

Decreased peripheral vision when driving, reading, and watching television are the most common reasons for patients to seek correction for ptosis.  Often, I am told that things appear brighter and the vision is improved when patients use their fingers to open the eyes more widely.  The most common cause for a droopy eyelid is aging-related changes to the muscles and tissues around the eyes.  Chronic contact lens wear, trauma, and other systemic conditions of the body can also result in a sagging lid.  In the office, we can perform a complete eye exam to figure out what may have caused the condition and how best to fix it.

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