Why Droopy Eyelid Surgery Is about More Than Aesthetics

You may think that eyelid ptosis (sagging or droopiness) is an aesthetic problem that merely affects your appearance. However, if you have this condition, you know that eyelid ptosis can cause a myriad of other issues, including vision problems and physical discomfort.

Beverly Hills Drooping Upper Eyelids

That’s why surgery for droopy eyelids – eyelid ptosis surgery – is often about more than just improving your appearance. At TabanMD in Los Angeles, oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Mehryar (Ray) Taban can create an eyelid surgery treatment plan that addresses eyelid ptosis, including a severe case of ptosis called ectropion, in which the eyelid droop is severe enough that the eyelid folds outward.

Let’s take a look at what eyelid ptosis is, why it’s more than an aesthetic problem, and how Dr. Taban addresses it.

What Is Ptosis?

Eyelid ptosis is when the eyelid, whether upper or lower, sags or droops at an abnormal level or angle. It can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or overall health condition.

Eyelid ptosis can be unpredictable in that:

  • It can affect one or both eyes
  • You can have it at birth or develop it later in life
  • It can barely or greatly impair your vision

What Causes a Droopy Eyelid?

Eyelid ptosis occurs for a variety of reasons, and, although it can occur at any age, it’s more common in older adults. As you age, the levator muscle responsible for holding the eyelid up can be stretched and weakened to the point that it fails to lift the eyelid, thus causing the eyelid to droop.

The muscles, tendons, and/or other tissue around the eye can also be damaged or weakened and cause eyelid ptosis due to the following:

  • Injury
  • Illness, such as diabetes or a tumor
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Neurological disorders, such as from brain injuries or neuromuscular issues

How Can Ptosis Be Such a Major Problem?

Although one of the most noticeable issues with eyelid ptosis is its effect on your appearance, you may decide to undergo eyelid ptosis surgery because of the following symptoms:

  • Dry eyes
  • Gritty or itchy eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye muscle strain
  • Headaches

Eyelid Ptosis Surgery

Eye lubricants can help ease the symptoms of a droopy eyelid, but that usually is not enough. Eyelid ptosis treatment can vary, as it depends on the reason and severity for your ptosis. For example, if you have developed ptosis from aging, treatment may not be necessary, especially if your (eye) health is not at risk. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about your appearance, then eyelid ptosis surgery is usually the best way to achieve a positive outcome.

However, eyelid ptosis surgery is likely necessary if your sagging eyelid impairs your vision. This procedure involves tightening the levator muscle so that your eyelid is lifted into its normal desired position.

In this case, though, it’s important to choose an oculoplastic surgeon with the training, skill, and experience to place the eyelid in the correct position. A less experienced or less skilled surgeon may position the eyelid incorrectly, such as too high or too low.

What Is Ectropion?

In severe cases of eyelid ptosis, a droopy lower eyelid can fold or turn outward, away from the eye, which causes the inner eyelid surface to be exposed. This is called ectropion, which can also result if you ignore eyelid ptosis.

Reconstructive Surgery for Ectropion Repair

With a normal eyelid, tears keep your eyes lubricated and protected by draining into the tear ducts located inside the eyelid. However, ectropion can interfere with tear drainage and cause:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritation and redness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Burning
  • Conjunctivitis or “pink eye”

Ectropion can arise due to aging, scarring from injury or previous eyelid surgery, eye paralysis, or congenital issues.

Regardless of the cause, if you ignore ectropion, it can develop into serious eye problems, including severe cornea issues and even blindness. It’s important that you see an oculoplastic surgeon if you have eyelid ptosis, but it’s doubly important that you consult one as soon as possible if you have symptoms of ectropion.  Learn more about ectropion from MayoClinic.org.

Eyelid Ectropion Surgery

If you have eyelid ectropion, Dr. Taban may recommend reconstructive eyelid surgery.

Before and After Lower Eyelid Retraction Surgery

One type of eyelid ectropion surgery is canthoplasty, which helps tighten and reshape a sagging eyelid. Dr. Taban utilizes a minimally invasive approach to tight the eyelid and provides better eye contour that hides the appearance of scars.

Another type is cicatricial ectropion eyelid surgery, in which Dr. Taban takes a skin flap from your upper eye fold to repair the condition. This method provides a better match in both tissue and color, which makes the result more natural-looking and less noticeable.

Eyelid ptosis surgery is typically an outpatient procedure done under local anesthesia. It can also be performed with or without sedation, based on what’s best for you. Typically, recovery lasts 7-10 days and is quick and painless, with only a few side effects, such as swelling and bruising.

To Learn More about Eyelid Ptosis Surgery, Contact Dr. Taban

Although eyelid ptosis cannot be prevented, it’s not usually harmful to your health. If it impairs your vision, consult an experienced doctor to determine the cause and extent of your condition. Dr. Taban and his oculoplastic surgery team at TabanMD can also determine the type of treatment, if any, is necessary.

To find out more, contact us online or call our Beverly Hills office or our Santa Barbara location to schedule a consultation.

Next, read Common Eyelid Problems and Their Fixes