Blepharoptosis (blef-uh-rahp-TOH-sis) or ptosis (TOH-sis) is a drooping of the upper eyelid that may affect one or both eyes. The eyelid may droop only slightly or may droop enough to cover the pupil and block vision. Blepharoptosis can occur in adults or children. When present at birth, it is called congenital blepharoptosis, and is usually caused by poor development or weakness of the levator muscle that lifts the eyelid. If left untreated while a child’s vision is developing, blepharoptosis can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye). In adults blepharoptosis is usually caused by aging, eye surgery, or disease affecting the levator muscle or its nerve. In both children and adults, blepharoptosis can be corrected with surgery.
The presence of blepharoptosis is obvious from the drooping eyelid itself. Children with blepharoptosis may tilt their heads back in an attempt to see past the eyelid or raise their eyebrows to compensate for the limit in vision. Attempts to compensate for the drooping eyelid can lead to eyestrain and fatigue in both children and adults. Symptoms of blepharoptosis may include:
Blepharoptosis is usually corrected with surgery to tighten the levator muscle. Surgery to remove excess eyelid tissue (blepharoplasty) may also be performed. Children should have regular ophthalmic examinations to ensure amblyopia does not develop.