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How do I know if I have ptosis?

Ptosis is a condition that affects the eyelids and may cause vision problems. Otherwise known as droopy eyelids, this uncommon eyelid dysfunction affects both young and old people. If you have seen sudden changes to your eyelids that already bothers your daily activities, it is recommended that you have it checked. You may inquire more about ptosis correction at Nassim plastic surgery.

What causes ptosis? 

There are various factors that can cause ptosis. It can be congenital, which means that a child has the condition upon birth. Acquired ptosis happens when the condition occurs later in life. Developing ptosis in your adult years may be due to any of the following:

  • Damage to the nerves that control the eyelid muscles
  • Disease that affects the function of the eyelid muscles, such as diabetes
  • Horner’s syndrome
  • Injury that weakens eyelid muscles and ligaments
  • Old age causing the eyelid muscles and skin to grow weak and loose
  • This condition runs in your family

Ptosis can affect one (unilateral ptosis) or both eyes (bilateral ptosis). Some ptosis may resolve on their own over time or they may remain permanent.

How do I know if I have ptosis? 

The most obvious symptom of ptosis is an eyelid that sags. However, there are also other signs of the presence of ptosis in case eyelid sagging does not occur often. These signs include:

  • Amblyopia or “lazy eye”
  • Blocked or blurry vision
  • Eyes that are extremely dry or watery
  • Face that look tired, exhausted, or sleepy
  • Having to lift your eyelids by arching your eyebrows in order to see better
  • Having to tilt your head back to see clearly during normal conversations
  • Squinting frequently

You should have your symptoms checked by a doctor, especially if it is accompanied by migraine headaches or other problems to rule out other conditions or diseases that may be present.

Am I at risk of developing ptosis? 

If you have a family history of ptosis, then your risk of developing this condition is high. In Singapore, this condition is found to affect men more than women. You may also be at risk if you have undergone eye surgeries as complications may happen. Excessive rubbing of the eyes also puts the eyelids at risk of getting damaged.

How is ptosis diagnosed? 

The first step to diagnose this condition is to consult with a doctor that specializes in this condition. Your doctor will do a physical exam and inquire about your personal and family’s medical history. You will also be asked about your symptoms: when you started to notice them, how long you have been experiencing them, and how they are affecting your everyday routine.

Next, your doctor will do some tests to determine the factors causing your eyelids to droop. You may be subjected to these tests:

  • Slit lamp test
  • Tensilon test

A slit lamp test uses a low-powered microscope together with a high-intensity light, called the slit lamp to check the condition of your eyes. To do this, your doctor will put eyedrops in your eyes in order to show any abnormalities affecting your cornea. Flourescein, which is a yellow dye, may also be used to minimize the production of tears. Using the microscope and slit lamp, your doctor looks into your eyes using different filters to view the eyes in various angles. Digital images of the eyes may also be taken if there is a need to monitor its condition.

Tensilon (edrophonium) is a drug used to prevent the chemical acetylcholine from breaking down. This chemical works a s neurotransmitters that are released by the nerve cells for muscle stimulation. To perform this test, your doctor will inject the Tensilon drug into a vein. You will then be asked to perform some simple tasks, such as sitting down and then standing up or crossing and uncrossing your legs a couple of times. If the drug makes your muscles stronger, then myasthenia gravis, which is a condition that triggers droopy eyelids, may be present.

Ptosis is diagnosed by measuring its Marginal Reflex Distance (MRD). MRD is the distance between the upper and lower eyelid margin. The severity of ptosis is categorized into three:

  • 1 to 2 mm droop – mild or minimal ptosis
  • 3 to 4 mm droop – moderate ptosis
  • More than 4 mm droop – severe ptosis

What are the treatments available for ptosis? 

The treatment for your ptosis will depend on its cause. For example, if your ptosis is due to an underlying condition, then your doctor will recommend a treatment plan that treats that disease or disorder instead of treating your droopy eyelid directly. If the factors causing your ptosis are not related to an illness, then your doctor may suggest these treatments:

  • Ptosis crutch or glasses – a non-surgical treatment recommended for temporary ptosis.
  • Ptosis surgery – may be done to correct mild to severe ptosis.

In Singapore, ptosis surgery has a 95% success rate of restoring the function of your eyelid muscles and improving the shape of your eyes. This is done by making incisions into your eyelid and tightening the weak muscles. Excess skin, if present, will also be removed. The procedure is done using anesthesia to ease discomfort. It is also an outpatient procedure that can be performed either in the hospital or in your doctor’s clinic.

If you opt to go for ptosis surgery, expect that there is downtime needed after the procedure for your healing and recovery. Your eyes will feel swollen and you may experience bruising around the treatment area, but this should subside after the first week. Complications, although rare, may arise during your recovery stage, so it is best not to aggravate the condition of your eyes by avoiding any activities that require exerting effort.  Ptosis surgery is a delicate surgery, but it is generally safe.

Once your eyelid has healed, you will notice that your vision has improved and your face looks more alert and fresh. It may take you up to a maximum of 3 months to be healed completely from the surgery, but this also depends on how fast your body recovers.

For more info about ptosis correction, contact Nassim Plastic Surgery.

Nassim Plastic Surgery 

1 Orchard Blvd

#11-02 Camden Medical Centre

Singapore 248649

(65) 6517 9890

(65) 9267 7469

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