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What is ptosis?

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What is ptosis?

Pathological drooping of an eyelid, also known as ptosis, may be caused by trauma, aging, or various medical conditions. Ptosis is commonly caused by a malfunction of the muscles that lift the eyelids. In such cases, there may be an underlying cause such as a nerve problem, trauma, etc. It is possible to find patients with ptosis when they are suffering from Myasthenia gravis (MG). An autoimmune disorder, MG occurs when antibodies block the transmission of information between nerves and muscles, leading to the weakness of skeletal muscles. It is common for MG patients to obtain recovery from medical treatment.

Typical signs and symptoms of ptosis include drooping eyelids. Depending on the degree of severity, ptosis may affect one eye (unilateral ptosis) or both eyes (bilateral ptosis). People who suffer from ptosis may experience difficulty seeing with the affected eye, based on the severity of the eyelid droop. There are times when people tilt their heads back in order to see under droopy eyelids or raise their eyebrows repeatedly to try to lift their upper eyelids. Comparing the two eyelids is an effective way to detect drooping on one side only. So, detecting drooping is more difficult when it occurs on both sides, or if there is only a slight problem. The upper eyelid that droops over the pupil can typically be diagnosed as ptosis when it covers more than two millimeters of the pupil. Children who have ptosis may be recommended surgery to prevent the onset of lazy eye (amblyopia).

It is possible to find patients with ptosis when they are suffering from Myasthenia gravis (MG).

How is ptosis treated?

Depending on the cause and severity of the droopy eyelid, the appropriate treatment may be required. The physician may suggest no treatment if the ptosis does not affect vision and the patient does not mind the appearance of the condition. However, the physician may recommend surgery to correct the condition. The levator muscle is tightened during this procedure. The eyelid will then be lifted into the desired position. This procedure is known as levator resection. 

It is possible for the eyelid to still droop, and occasionally a small portion of the eyelid may not close completely. In such cases, additional treatment may be recommended by your doctor. During the first two weeks of treatment, it is recommended to cover the eyes with gauze to prevent dry eyes at night.

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