Do you ever get concerned remarks from people about your “tired-looking” eyes? Or have you ever been asked if you are getting enough sleep or feeling a lot stressed lately because of the drooping appearance of your eyes? It could be signs of ptosis, a condition where one or both eyelids droop. Unless it blocks the eyesight or is too noticeable (that people starts to point it out more often), you might think that it poses no harm. That is partly true, because almost all cases, ptosis is not painful or life-threatening. But if you have to tip your head back and lift your chin to see more clearly, or you have to arch your eyebrows to lift the sagging lids, you might have to consider getting droopy eyelid surgery in Singapore (https://tesclinic.com/services/blepharoplasty-eyelid-surgery/) before it further affects your quality of life.
To learn more about this condition, this article will discuss the following topics:
- What is ptosis?
- When should I contact a doctor about my ptosis?
- How is droopy eyelid diagnosed?
- How is ptosis treated?
What is ptosis?
Ptosis or blepharoptosis occurs when the upper eyelid falls over the eye to a position that is lower than normal. In other words, it is the excess sagging of the upper eyelid. The condition is referred to as unilateral ptosis when the drooping or sagging only affects one eye and bilateral ptosis when it impacts both eyes. Ptosis may be temporary or permanent. Anyone can get ptosis but some people are born with congenital ptosis while others develop in at some point in their lives (acquired ptosis). Congenital ptosis is quite rare but sometimes, ptosis is not the only cause of droopy eyelids. It is also possible that sagging skin (or skin that is prone to sagging) is an inherited trait. If there is someone in the family – your parents or grandparents – had droopy eyelids, you are at a greater risk of developing them later in life.
Ptosis is more common in older people due the natural process of aging. As we age, the levator muscle that lifts the eyelid can stretch and lose its elasticity, causing the eyelid to look droopy. If a person smokes and/or consumes alcohol often, rubs the skin around eyes excessively, and/or is constantly exposed to sun, the effects of aging may be more apparent than a person who has the opposite lifestyle and habits. Although aging, as we all know, is inevitable, the aforementioned factors exacerbate signs of aging and cause the skin to lose its elasticity and suppleness at a faster rate.
Underlying conditions like dermatochalasis and blepharitis may also cause ptosis. Dermatochalasis is the medical term for excess eyelid skin, and it is usually found in people age 50 and above. Blepharitis, on the other hand, is a condition characterized by inflamed eyelids. Allergies play a role in the appearance of droopy eyelids, too, as allergy symptoms may cause the eyelids to become swollen and heavy.
When should I contact a doctor about my ptosis?
You should contact your doctor for help if the eyelid drooping is starting to affect your vision or appearance or you associate it with other symptoms like pain or double vision. If needed, the doctor can refer you to an ophthalmologist. If you notice drooping eyelids in children, it is best to see an eye specialist as soon as possible to prevent the condition from getting worse. When left untreated, children with ptosis may also develop a more serious problem called amblyopia, or lazy eye, which can delay or obstruct their vision.
How is droopy eyelid diagnosed?
If the drooping occurs on one side only (unilateral ptosis), the doctor detects the condition by comparing the two eyelids. On the other hand, ptosis is a lot harder to detect when it affects both eyes or if it is barely noticeable at all. Some doctors may ask the patients to bring old photos to help determine the progression and current extent of the issue.
The doctor will perform a physical exam to identify the cause of the ptosis, but some other tests such as visual field testing, slit-lamp examination, and tensilon test may also be required. During a slit-eye examination, the doctor uses a high-intensity light to take a close look at the eye. Since your eyes may be dilated during the course of the exam, there might be some discomfort. A Tensilon test uses a drug known as Tensilon (endrophonium) to check muscle strength. This will help them identify if myasthenia gravis is the culprit behind the droopy eyelid/s.
How is ptosis treated?
It is rare for ptosis to cause discomfort or other serious health issues so in most cases, treatment is not required. However, treatment may be an option if person wants it for cosmetic purposes or to address visual impairments. The treatment for ptosis in Singapore will the depend on how severe the condition is.
Specific cases require surgery to treat ptosis, with the aim to tighten the levator muscle. The procedure is generally considered as safe, but as with all surgical procedures, complications are possible. If the surgeon who performs the procedure is not well-experienced in handling ptsosis cases, they may end up under-correcting or overcorrecting the problem.
Blepharoplasty, or the process that removes the sagging skin and excess fat from the eyelids, is the most common surgical procedure for addressing ptosis in Singapore. Some doctors also suggest a brow lift, which can raise sagging brows and minimize the appearance of frown lines between the eyebrows. A brow lift is not as used as frequently as a blepharoplasty but for some patients, it helps remove eyelid drooping as well.
For a non-surgical option, there is ptosis crutch. Where a small crutch is attached to the frames of the eyeglasses. The purpose of this crutch is to prevent drooping by keeping or holding the eyelid in place.
There is no foolproof way to prevent the occurrence of a droopy eyelid. What’s important is to recognize the symptoms and get regular eye exams to help fight the problem at its onset. Although ptosis is not detrimental to the overall health, make sure that you see a doctor immediately if your droopy eyelid starts to block your vision.
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