This post will dig into the basics of ptosis. What does the condition entail? Who does it affect and is it treatable? These are some of the questions we will answer below. Make sure you read this through.
What is Ptosis?
The medical term ptosis describes an eye condition in which the upper lid becomes droopy and takes over part of the pupil. If it affects one eye, it creates asymmetry and ruins one’s appearance. But the worst part is that it can also interfere with a person’s vision.
Ptosis is usually easy to diagnose, but only an expert can tell what you are dealing with exactly. The most obvious symptom is a sagging eyelid. If the problem is present in one eye, it will be much easier to spot. But sometimes the lid will not be so noticeably droopy. In that case, you should check to see if the lid creases are evenly lined up with each other. Another sign is when vision gets blocked.
Some people are born with ptosis and some develop it later in life. Adults get it when the muscle that keeps the eye elevated, known as the levator muscle, extends away from the eyelid. This is called acquired ptosis. There are a few reasons why this happens, the most common being eye injury and ageing. In rare cases, tumours and other diseases can lead to ptosis. It may sound difficult to believe, but now and then certain eyelid surgeries can result in a drooping eyelid.
Furthermore, some diseases like Horner syndrome and nerve palsy can affect the eye nerves, leading to an unpleasant side effect. Other risk factors include health conditions that affect the muscles – e.g. muscular dystrophy and myasthenia gravis. This can cause drooping of the upper eyelid.
Some people have the condition since birth. This is called congenital ptosis. The number-one cause is an ill-developed levator muscle. How to tell if your child has it? If one eyelid covers the pupil, he or she will often raise the eyebrows or lift up the chin. This will allow him or her to see better. If the problem is not addressed, these movements can lead to neck and head issues. Not to mention, there is a risk of the child developing vision problems like astigmatism, “lazy eye”, and misaligned eyes.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Your doctor will do an examination to determine the strength of the levator muscle and other tissue around the eyelid. They will also ask questions about your problem. An imaging test may be done to provide more clarity on the roots of the matter.
The treatment is different depending on the form of drooping you are experiencing. A minor case of ptosis may go away on its own after the underlying issue is treated. However, severe ptosis usually requires a more invasive approach. Surgery is the best way of lifting the eyelid and saving your vision.
Surgical options in Singapore
The type of surgery needed for this condition is functional blepharoplasty. As opposed to cosmetic blepharoplasty, it is executed for medical reasons. It helps to tighten the supporting structures and muscles. During the operation, the surgeon will make cuts along the natural crease of the lid and remove all excess skin. The fat may be repositioned or fully disposed of. The incisions are then closed with surgical adhesive or stitches.
Sometimes it is only the lifting muscle that needs adjustment, as in strengthening and reattaching to the lid. The procedure is executed with a scalpel under local anaesthesia and is performed in the outpatient’s department. It can have its risks including blood loss, scar abnormality, overcorrection of the lid, etc.
Blepharoplasty can also be performed using a laser. There has been a lot of dispute on whether or not laser eyelid operations should be considered surgical interventions. This stems from the fact that laser procedures are generally classified as non-surgical. But regardless of that, the treatment still requires downtime and has risks.
Ptosis treatment without surgery
It is possible to impact the condition positively with the help of non-incisional methods, but they will only make small alterations. For example, a laser procedure may tighten the skin of the upper eyelid, providing a small lift. And if there is excess skin on the lid due to a low brow, dermal filler injections may be beneficial. Once the unneeded tissue is removed, the eyelid will not be as droopy as before.
Another temporary solution is using eye drops. They can keep the eye open for about eight hours. What is more, the troubled muscle can be treated with Botox. In some cases, it helps the tissue to get stronger, but it won’t always be effective for ptosis.
Of course, none of these solutions are as effective as surgery, so do not put all your hopes on them. They offer a temporary fix; besides, there is always the risk of getting the reverse effect.
Can exercise improve the condition?
Unfortunately, exercise is not likely to impact the condition in any way. You had better consult a doctor and see what solutions they have to offer.
In the end, ptosis is a condition which can be treated, but you need to leave the diagnosis in the hands of a certified specialist or plastic surgeon. Although people generally try to avoid invasive treatments, you need to understand that blepharoplasty might be the only way out of droopy eyelids for you. Having a consultation with an oculoplastic surgeon will probably blow all your worries away. So, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment to have the problem addressed the right way.