• What Is Ptosis?

    Mar. 10, 2014

    Ptosis is a drooping of the upper eyelid. The lid may droop only slightly, or it may cover the pupil entirely. In some cases, ptosis can restrict and even block normal vision. It can be present in children as well as adults and may be treated with surgery.

    Ptosis can:

    • Affect one or both eyelids
    • Be inherited
    • Be present at birth
    • Occur later in life

    If a child is born with ptosis, it is called "congenital ptosis." Congenital ptosis is often caused by poor development of the muscle that lifts the eyelid, called the levator muscle. This condition usually doesn't improve on its own over time. With moderate to severe congenital ptosis, the child may need treatment to have his or her vision develop normally.

    What problems can result from ptosis in children?

    If amblyopia is not treated in early childhood, it may lead to permanent vision loss later in life.
    If amblyopia is not treated in early childhood, it may lead to permanent vision loss later in life.

    The most serious problem associated with childhood ptosis is amblyopia (lazy eye), which is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. This can occur if the lid is drooping severely enough to block the child's vision. More frequently, amblyopia can develop because ptosis tends to lead to constant blurriness of visual images, causing astigmatism. Ptosis can also hide misaligned or crossed eyes, which can cause amblyopia.