What Is Ptosis?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 27-Aug-2013


Ptosis is a permanent drooping of the upper eyelid caused by aging, contact lens wear, injury and sometimes cataract or other eye surgeries. It can cause headaches, brow aches, eye irritation and can obscure part of your vision.

If the condition interferes with vision, oculoplastic surgery is considered medically necessary to correct the drooping eyelid.


Ptosis is caused by a weakening of the muscles in the eyelid. While it is possible for a child to be born with drooping eyelid, in most cases, ptosis develops with age, as the eyelid muscles weaken. It can also develop after surgery, or as a result of another medical condition such as diabetes, kidney disease or allergies. In some cases, ptosis may be the result of an eyelid tumor.

Risk factors

Older individuals are at more risk of developing ptosis because the eye muscles weaken with age. People who have had eye tumors, diabetes, stroke, cancer or neurological disorders may also be at risk for developing ptosis.


The most obvious sign of ptosis is a dropping upper eyelid. Other symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty blinking or closing the eye
  • Tearing
  • Eye fatigue
  • Difficulty seeing as a result of the drooping eyelid


Ptosis is most commonly corrected by an oculoplastic surgical procedure called blepharoplasty, to lighten the levator muscle in the eyelid. This is done by shortening the muscle slightly so it will lift the eyelid. Following an examination, your doctor will be able to tell you what results you can expect.

Surgical treatment for ptosis is quick and is performed under local anesthetic on an out-patient basis. After surgery, the eyelid may feel tight, but this is only temporary. There may be come swelling or bruising, which is also temporary. Once the eyelid has healed, the tiny scars will be nearly invisible.

Is treatment covered by insurance?

If the ptosis obscures part of your vision, surgical treatment is considered medically necessary and your insurance may cover all or part of the cost. At the time of your exam, insurance coverage for ptosis treatment will be verified.

If you suffer from ptosis, schedule an appointment with oculoplastic eye surgeons Dr. Barke and Dr. Corona of Key-Whitman, who specialize in treating ptosis at the Dallas and Arlington locations. Our eye surgeons are board-certified M.D.s who specialize in eye surgery and the tissues that surround the eye. Oculoplastic surgeons are experienced ophthalmologists who have also received training in plastic surgery of tissues around the eye, and understand the balance of performing cosmetic or reconstructive surgery while maintaining the full function of the eyes.

Categories: Eye Conditions
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