While there are many things that can be bothersome about one’s lids, the most common complaint is ‘droopy’ upper eyelids. Droopy upper lids can cause a heavy feeling to the eyes and can make them feel tired. They can also make reading difficult due to the lids wanting to close when we look down at a book or newspaper, and they can make one feel like they are always ‘in the dark,’ because with the lids hanging over the eyes, it seems like a baseball cap is always pulled down low over one’s eyes. These symptoms can be extremely frustrating to people with droopy lids. Cosmetically, droopy lids can make one feel like they look either old or sleepy.
There are actually two different causes for droopy eyelids – Dermatochalasis and Ptosis (toe-sis):
Dermatochalasis is the more common eyelid problem, and it simply means excess skin which is hanging over what is an otherwise normal eyelid. Sometimes there is so much extra skin, it can hang all the way down to the lashes. This extra skin covers over one’s ‘eye shadow space’ – meaning in order to apply eye shadow, the person would first have to lift the extra skin out of the way, just to get to the lid underneath. The surgery to fix this condition is called upper lid Blepharoplasty. This entails removing the extra skin (and sometimes excess underlying fat) under local anesthesia in an operating room.
Ptosis occurs when the lid itself hangs too low, covering the pupil. Instead of too much skin hanging on top of the lid, the edge of the lid (where the eyelashes come out) is simply too low. This gives the person the appearance of always being sleepy. This is usually a problem of the muscles inside the lid. These muscles control the opening and closing of the eyelid, and sometimes they can get overly stretched out, much like an old rubber band that over time gets too loose and no longer snaps back. Ptosis Repair surgery tightens these eyelid muscles, thereby restoring the patient’s normal lid height. Like Blepharoplasty, Ptosis Repair is also done under local anesthesia in an operating room.
Once healed from either Blepharoplasty or Ptosis repair, the patient often feels like they see better, their eyes no longer feel heavy or tired, and their world is literally brighter since the ‘baseball cap’ has been removed. They also have a more vibrant, rejuvenated appearance, which gets many compliments!
If you are being troubled by these (or any other) eyelid problems, please come in to see our doctors for an evaluation. If your issues are found to be causing significant functional problems with your vision, then your insurance will even cover the cost of the surgery!