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Droopy Eyelids: What Causes Them and How They Can Be Fixed?

Los Angeles Sagging Eyelids Surgical ProceduresImagine having to do 20,000 sit ups or write 20,000 words a day every day—never a day off to rest and recover. The stomach muscles or fingers would get tired, cramp up, and eventually break down.

Yet, that’s how many times per day the levator muscles are estimated to repeatedly lift a person’s eyelids every day. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to a weakening of the muscle and the upper eyelid eventually sags or droops, a condition called eyelid ptosis.

Ptosis can make people appear tired, stressed, intoxicated, or older than they are. It can happen in either eye or both simultaneously. If it occurs in only one eye, the asymmetry of the eyelids can make it appear as if the eyes are two different sizes. It might also be difficult to keep the eyes open.

Beverly Hills oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Ray Taban and the compassionate staff at TabanMD have dedicated their careers to treating patients with eyelid ptosis. This experience, combined with their training and skill, can make all the difference in alleviating droopy eyelids.

What Causes Ptosis?

Eyelid ptosis affects both adults and children, and several crucial factors can lead to it. However, simply put, the tendon that connects the levator muscle to the eyelid can become over-stretched, usually due to traumatic, congenital, neurological, or age-related conditions.

The result is often either a weakening of the levator muscle or damage to the nerves controlling the muscle – or both. Sometimes, ptosis happens because people are born with loose or excess upper eyelid skin.

The overall effect is basically the same, however – the eyelid will not remain in its normal, lifted position and will sag.

Examples of how adults can develop eyelid ptosis include the following:

  • Aging and gravity
  • Injury
  • Previous surgery
  • Allergies
  • Years of using contact lenses (particularly hard lenses)
  • Excessive rubbing of the eyes 

Disease or illness can also be responsible for loose, sagging eyelids. Diabetes, a stroke, or a tumor in the brain that affects nerves or muscles are common culprits. A neuromuscular disorder called myasthenia gravis can also weaken eye or eyelid muscles and lead to double vision and ptosis.

Some children are born with ptosis due to naturally weak eyelid muscles. If they don’t get treated, amblyopia (lazy eye) and permanent loss of vision may occur.

Symptoms of Droopy Lids

The symptoms of ptosis are fairly obvious – an eyelid that droops lower than normal. It may or may not impair your range of vision and it can happen to one or both eyelids.

Other less obvious symptoms include an increased rate of tearing or constantly having to lift or arch your eyebrow to improve your ability to see clearly.

Eyelid Ptosis Treatment

Treatment depends on the extent of the ptosis, which cannot be accurately determined without a comprehensive oculoplastic consultation and examination. However, the best course of treatment will be based on the following:

  • Eyelid appearance
  • Extent of ptosis
  • Amount of extra skin dangling over the lid
  • Eyelid strength
  • Extent of eye dryness
  • Photos of natural eyelid position before ptosis

If, after examination, you’ve been diagnosed with eyelid ptosis, the best course of action may be to undergo an upper eyelid ptosis surgical procedure to tighten the levator muscle.

How the Corrective Procedure is Performed

The goal of eyelid ptosis surgery is to restore the eyelid’s proper natural position, which is achieved by repairing or reattaching the weakened, damaged levator muscle. The procedure normally takes 30-60 minutes depending on the patient. If excess skin is removed during the procedure, the treatment is considered an upper eyelid blepharoplasty.

If you require only an eyelid lift—no removal of excess skin—an eyelid ptosis treatment is a minimally invasive muscle-tightening technique that is safe and effective.

On the other hand, if removal of excess skin is deemed necessary, an inconspicuous incision is made in the eyelid crease and closed with tiny sutures, which are typically removed within a week. Although an incision is made, the location in the eyelid crease enables quick, efficient healing without leaving a noticeable scar.

Both procedures are performed under local anesthesia for the most comfort and best results.


The minimally invasive nature of upper eyelid ptosis surgery encourages a quicker, more comfortable recovery. Most of our patients usually return to work and other daily activities within 2-3 days.

The recovery and healing process are usually very tolerable after an eyelid procedure. Swelling and bruising for 7-10 days are to be expected, but no eye patch is required and your vision remains unaffected.

Learn more about corrective eyelid surgery, visit

Why Choose Dr. Taban?

Eyelid surgery is a delicate procedure. Double board-certified in oculoplastic surgery, Dr. Mehryar “Ray” Taban is an experienced, skilled surgeon in Beverly Hills with a long track record of success. He is trained in all facets of cosmetic eyelid surgery as well as reconstructive surgery.

Finally, as a member of ASOPRS, the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, he has documented expertise and skill in ptosis surgery, treatments, and techniques.

Don’t Suffer a Droopy Eyelid – Contact Beverly Hills Eye Plastic Surgeon Dr. Taban

Contact Dr. Taban and staff today to schedule a consultation if you have eyelid ptosis.  Simply make an appointment online or call our Beverly Hills location at 877.958.9277 or our Santa Barbara office at 805.669.9101.

Next, read How to Choose an Oculoplastic Surgeon Who’s Right for You