What is an Acquired Ptosis?

Ptosis is the medical term for drooping of the upper eyelid, a condition that may affect one or both eyes. Ptosis that presents itself after childhood is called an ‘Acquired Ptosis’. When the edge of the eyelid drops and covers part of the pupil, it blocks the upper part of your vision. In severe cases, it is necessary to tilt one’s head back or lift the eyelid with a finger in order to see out from under the drooping lid.

What causes an Acquired Ptosis?

In most cases, an acquired drooping of the upper eyelid results from the ageing of previously normal structures. Typically the tendon that attaches the ‘lifting’ muscle to the eyelid stretches and the eyelid droops low. Occasionally, the condition results from other general conditions such as Myasthenia Gravis and your eye specialist may mention to you about it, if necessary.

What is the treatment and how is it done?

The treatment involves an operation, usually carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case. Local anaesthetic eye drops are used along with an injection into the upper eyelid to numb the area. We now use dissolving stitches at the site of the operation.

What to expect after the operation?

A dressing may be applied for 24 hours. The upper eyelid will usually appear swollen which tends to subside over 7 – 10 days. Make sure the wound is kept clean and dry. There should be very little discharge from the wound and if necessary, you may clean it using cooled, boiled water and clean cotton wool or tissue. Use a separate piece of cotton wool or tissue for each wipe to the area.

You will be prescribed some lubricating eye drops and cream along with an antibiotic eye drop – please use as directed.

Are there any risks or side effects?

  • There may be bruising and swelling around the eye.
  • There is a small risk of infection of the eyelid or the eye.
  • There is a possibility of under or over correction of the eyelid, which may require further operations.
  • There is a possibility of inability to close the eyelids permanently.
  • Sometimes, if your other eye has a tendency to droop, it may be more noticeable after this operation. Your eye specialist may warn you of this possibility, where applicable.

What are the Benefits?

  • Restoring normal appearance of the eyelid.
  • Improved upper part of your vision and improved quality of vision where the pupil was previously occluded by the droopy upper eyelid.