Droopy Eyelids in Kids (Ptosis)

Posted on December 11, 2017

Droopy Eyelids in Kids (Ptosis)
By: Jeffrey Colburn, MD

Some children may have a droopy upper eyelid on one or both sides. Ptosis is the medical term for a droopy eyelid. This may be present from birth or early infancy and happens because the muscle that lifts the eyelid either formed poorly or is not well connected to the eyelid. This results in the eyelid hanging low and potentially getting in the way of vision. This could then interfere with vision development in young kids and lead to amblyopia where the brain essentially just turns the eye off. For this reason, children with ptosis need to have regular eye exams to monitor their vision development.

Most of the time ptosis is mild and vision develops normally. If this is the case, we would usually not want to do any surgery until the child is older and the long term cosmetic result would be better. Some families and children will not be that bothered by the ptosis and may choose to never have surgery for it. But if ptosis is threatening vision development, then we might need to perform surgery early to lift the eyelid and clear the line of sight. This can be done by either tightening a weak but functioning eyelid muscle, or in the case of a poorly functioning muscle, by suspending the eyelid itself from either the eyebrow/forehead.

Recently we posted a video demonstrating a specific and somewhat unusual type of congenital ptosis called Marcus-Gunn Jaw-Winking Ptosis.  You can find that video in the video section on our Facebook page or on our YouTube channel.