Causes of Eyelid Droop


Eyelid droop can affect just about anyone. While it usually doesn’t present many problems other than appearing unattractive, a drooping eyelid can end up affecting the person’s eyesight and may require a surgical solution.


The human eyelids have several functions. They are designed to close over the eyes and provide protection for the sensitive cornea underneath. Eyelids also blink every few seconds to help moisturize the eyes by spreading tears across the eye’s surface and to remove any debris that may injure the eye. The upper eyelid also contains eyelashes to help protect the eye from debris and other materials. Normally both the upper and lower eyelids are held tightly in place by muscles with both eyelids matching in appearance. In certain people however, a problem with the muscles located around the eyelid can cause one, usually the lower eyelid to droop. Eyelid droop can affect one or both of the eyelids and is often seen in elderly patients as their controlling eyelid muscles weaken as they age. The most common problem associated with a drooping eyelid is cosmetic appearance. Most people find a drooping eyelid to be unsightly and unattractive. A drooping eyelid may however be a sign of a more serious problem or may develop conditions that can affect the person’s eyesight. In these cases, a doctor may choose to perform surgery on the eyelid.


There can be several different causes for a drooping eyelid, which is often referred to as Ptosis. As the eyelids are held in place by muscles, specifically the Levator and Muller’s muscles, any damage or weakening of these muscles can result in a drooping of the eyelid. This can occur as deterioration as the muscle ages, as injuries to places where the muscles connect to the eyelids or as the result of surgery to the eyelids. Also, any condition that affects the nerves that supply the eyelid muscles can lead to difficulties with drooping. This nerve is called the Oculomotor nerve and can be affecting by conditions like diabetes. Other conditions that may affect the eyelid nerves include neurological problems such as Myasthenia gravis or Horner’s syndrome. Even certain types of snake venom can damage the Oculomotor nerves. In addition to the eyelid drooping, a condition referred to as Ectropian droop may occur where the eyelid also turns outward. This causes the inner part of the lower eyelid to become visible and allows tears to fall directly downward onto the face. As a result, the person will experience problems with dryness of the eyes.


Other than the obvious unsightly droop of the eyelid, Ptosis often has no other symptoms. In certain cases due to attempting to overcompensate for the drooping muscle by using other muscles in the face the person may develop headaches and muscle pains. Eyelid droop may also end up affecting the person’s vision as it can lead to other problems such as astigmatism or a lazy eye condition. In cases where vision has become impaired or where the person feels a strong dislike for the cosmetic look of their drooping eyelids, the treatment involves surgery. Young children who acquire a drooping eyelid will also need treatment to avoid developing complications with their vision as they grow. This type of eyelid surgery will require the talents of a specialized eye surgeon to avoid any more difficulties with the eye from developing. Surgery may also be added to special corrective glasses or contact lens. While surgery can be performed to cut away and remove the drooping excess tissue, it is import to know the cause of the eyelid’s problem to treat a possible underlying condition such as diabetes or Horner’s syndrome.


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