What causes Ptosis?Ptosis can be congenital or acquired.
If it is present at birth, it is called congenital ptosis, and is usually due to poor development of the muscle that lifts the upper eyelid (the levator muscle).
If the ptosis is severe – fully or partially covering the pupil of the eye – it can lead to ‘amblyopia’ (lazy eye) or strabismus (eyes that are not properly aligned or straight).
In some cases, the ptosis is also related to refractive errors or astigmatism (an irregularity in the shape of the cornea that causes blurred vision).
Most cases of acquired ptosis are characterised on the basis of the history:
- ‘Neurogenic’ ptosis is caused by a partial or complete paralysis of the nerve innervating the levator muscle
- ‘Myogenic’ ptosis can be caused by facial weakness (such as myotonic dystrophy)
- ‘Traumatic’ ptosis can be induced by trauma to the eyelid, and in ‘mechanical’ ptosis the upper eyelid may be prevented from opening completely because of for example an eyelid tumour which restricts the action of the levator
- ‘Dermatochalasis’ is the presence of excessive and redundant eyelid skin and is almost always progressive with ageing
Surgical correction may be indicated for visual or cosmetic reasons.
What are the symptoms of Ptosis?The foremost symptom is an eyelid that sags or droops. Patients will often tilt their heads back or lift their eyebrows, in an expression of surprise, in order to see (especially if bilateral ptosis is present).
Among other symptoms, lax eyelids may cause headaches and browaches, obscure vision or irritate the eye.
How is Ptosis treated?The treatment of ptosis is largely surgical. Ptosis surgery is designed to tighten the levator muscle by shortening it to allow the muscle to sufficiently elevate the eyelid.
Ptosis surgery is usually performed at the Mater Day Unit, 1 Wellington Street, Mackay as a day procedure.
What can I expect after surgery?After the procedure, you will likely experience some discomfort and the upper eyelid/s may feel ‘tight’ at first, although this sensation should resolve within a few days. The elevation of the eyelid will often be immediately noticeable, though in some cases the bruising and swelling associated with the surgery will obscure this finding.
This will usually resolve within 2 – 3 weeks.
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