Eyelids have several vital functions, such as protection against dust, glare, and aiding in keeping our eyes moist. They also help disperse tears to eliminate dust particles. But what happens when an eyelid starts drooping?

Causes of Drooping Eyelids

Drooping eyelids can arise due to various factors including:

  1. Aging: As we age, the elasticity of our skin reduces, leading to drooping.
  2. Medical Disorders: Some conditions can affect the muscles or nerves of the eyelids.
  3. Physical Trauma: Accidents or injuries can lead to an eyelid drooping.

Two predominant conditions resulting in drooping eyelids are ptosis and dermatochalasis. Both lead to the rim of the upper eyelid resting lower than its normal position.

Understanding Ptosis

Ptosis can further be divided into:

  1. Nerve Abnormalities: This may cause intermittent drooping, perhaps noticeable only at specific times of the day. Medication can manage it, but patients need regular supervision by a neurologist.
  2. Muscle Abnormalities: This category encompasses congenital issues, trauma, blepharitis, or general muscle weakness.


Dermatochalasis involves excess skin on the upper or sometimes the lower eyelid. It's linked to genetics and age, often seen in patients 60 years and older. As age advances, its prevalence increases. This excess skin leads to reduced elasticity, causing the skin to stretch and sag.

Symptoms of Drooping Eyelids

Whether it's ptosis or dermatochalasis, the symptoms often overlap. Both conditions can:

  • Obstruct the visual field.
  • Cause pain or aching in the upper eyelids.
  • Make it hard to open the eyes. In severe cases, individuals might need to raise their eyebrows to see properly.

Treatment for Drooping Eyelids

Before diving into treatment, a comprehensive health assessment by an ophthalmologist is crucial. Determining the root cause ensures effective treatment and minimises potential complications.

The primary surgical treatment for both conditions is blepharoplasty. This involves the removal of excessive skin and fat from the affected eyelid. Post-surgery, the eyelids should appear natural and symmetric. Given the sensitivity of the area, the surgeon's expertise is paramount.

  • Duration: About 1 hour per eye.
  • Anesthesia Options: General anesthesia, IV sedation, or local anesthesia.
  • Post-Op Care: Patients might experience swelling, particularly in the first week. Stitches removal aids in reducing this swelling. Cleaning the wound with saline solution regularly and avoiding water exposure is essential. Follow medication schedules as prescribed.
  • Activity Limitations: To prevent dry eyes, refrain from prolonged computer use, reading, or smartphone usage for the initial weeks. Wearing dark glasses protects against bright light, dust, and wind.

Given the intricate nature of the procedure and the delicacy of the eyelids, it's crucial that only an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive specialist or an oculoplastic specialist treats these conditions.