When you look in the mirror, is a much wearier version of yourself looking back at you? The cause of your apparent fatigue may not be the number of hours you are sleeping, but droopy eyelids that are giving you a tired look even with ample shut-eye. Drooping of the upper lid is a common sign of aging, but it can be caused by other factors as well. Fortunately, there are ways to treat eyelid droop and refresh your appearance, once you determine the type of sagging you are dealing with and the results you hope to achieve.
Why do eyelids droop?
While aging is the most frequent reason for eyelid drooping, it is not the only one. Other possible culprits might include:
- Nerve disorders (conditions that affect the cranial nerve, such as brain tumor, stroke or an aneurysm)
- Muscle disorders (diseases that directly affect the muscles of the eye)
- Other medical conditions (dermatochalasis, diabetes, facial palsy)
- Eye injuries (assaults or accidents that damage the oculomotor nerve)
- Congenital problems (apparent at birth, can lead to vision impairment or distortion)
- Lifestyle choices (alcohol abuse, smoking, poor nutrition, sun exposure)
When a cause to eyelid droop can be identified, addressing that issue can often correct the problem. In other cases, surgical treatment may be needed to restore the appearance and the full function of the eye.
Types of Eyelid Droop
There are different types of eyelid droop that can occur:
Also known as blepharoptosis, this is the classic drooping of the upper eyelid. The eyelid falls from its original position over the eye, which can give you a worn appearance and may interfere with your line of vision if the drop is significant enough. The problem may be present in just one eye or both eyes at the same time. It may not be symmetrical, giving your face an off-balance appearance.
When ptosis occurs, it is important to diagnose the cause of the condition, to determine whether additional treatment might be needed before correction is accomplished. When another medical issue is present, you will likely experience other symptoms with the drooping, such as double vision or issues that extend beyond the eye to other areas of the body.
This sagging in the upper lid is typically caused by excess skin. The condition can make you look both tired and sad, and is apt to affect your vision over time. Dermatochalasis can also occur on the lower eyelids, leading to sagging and the formation of bags underneath the eyes.
Most cases of dermatochalasis are strictly cosmetic in nature, but there are medical conditions that can contribute to the sagging. These might include disorders of the thyroid, renal failure or injury to the eye.
This type of ptosis affects the eyebrows rather than the upper eyelid. However, a drop to the brow line can lead to hooding of the upper eye that can also give you a weary appearance and sometimes get in the way of your line of sight. When eyebrow ptosis is the culprit in your droopy look, surgery will need to address the brow line, rather than the eyelids themselves.
This type of change is most commonly due to the aging process. Over time, collagen levels in our bodies start to fall, resulting in skin laxity and the formation of facial wrinkles. The underlying skin structure can also begin to drop, which can lead to ptosis of the eyebrows and a more aged appearance in general.
Treatment for Eyelid Droop
Eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty is the most common way to reverse almost any type of eyelid droop. Dr. Lensink performs these procedures using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, and the surgery usually takes about two hours to complete. You can address problems with the upper eye, lower eye or both eyelids at the same time.
Eyelid surgery offers a profound improvement to your appearance, opening up your eyes and giving you an awake look overall. With an experienced surgeon like Dr. Lensink performing your surgery, you can rest assured the results of your eyelid surgery will be safe, effective and long-lasting. To learn more about your options in reversing eyelid droop, contact Dr. Lensink’s office today at 530-229-7700.