Drooping eyelids are a common problem usually associated with aging, but can be seen in younger people, too. As an eye doctor in Hamilton, NJ, I know the effects of time and gravity are the most common cause of drooping eyelids, but it’s important to know that more sinister neurologic conditions — such as myasthenia gravis or an aneurysm — could be to blame.
In most cases involving neurological issues, drooping eyelids seem to appear overnight and may be associated with double vision and pain. In these cases, patients should be promptly evaluated and get medical or neurological treatment as soon as possible.
Far more often, the eyelids gradually sag as gravity slowly tugs on the eyelids’ skin and the muscles that lift the eyelid. An eyelid surgery specialist evaluates the structures surrounding the eyelid, particularly the eyebrow and upper eyelid skin, as part of the overall assessment. Additionally, the function of the muscles that elevate the eyelid must be determined. I pay particular attention to the status of the cornea and dry eyes, because any surgical correction of the eyelid droop may increase the dry eye symptoms.
Eyelid surgery is the only treatment for drooping eyelids. If the cause of the eyelid droop is excess skin of the upper eyelids or drooping of the eyebrows, then removing the excess skin and elevating the eyebrows can produce the desired results. If the eyelid itself is drooping, this is most often caused by the muscle that lifts the eyelid being stretched. Tightening this muscle can elevate the eyelid. Cold compresses applied after the surgery can help minimize swelling, but the eye may remain swollen and bruised for approximately 7 to 10 days following surgery.
For some, the drooping eyelids can impair vision and surgery to alleviate this condition may be covered by a patient’s health insurance policy. Part of the evaluation includes photographs and a visual field with the eyelid both at rest and elevated. Private insurance companies often evaluate the testing to determine if the surgery is covered. Medicare does not take those steps. Only an examination can determine if insurance covers the procedure.
These photos demonstrate how surgery to remove excess skin helps elevate the eyelids.
Eyelid surgery can provide an expansion of the visual field and leave the eyelids feeling more rested. If you are wondering if you might be a candidate for eyelid surgery request a consultation at Outlook Eyecare, or call us at (609) 409-2777 (Monroe Township), (609) 419-1920 (Princeton), or (609) 587-4700 (Hamilton Township).