Ptosis, the clinical term for droopy eyelids, can be present at birth (congenital), or it may develop later in life as a result of other conditions that affect the eyes or the muscles and nerves.
In some cases, the eyelid doesn't droop too much, and your child is not impacted by it. In other cases, the droop is severe and problematic.
Our experienced pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists at ABC Children's Eye Specialists PC are eager to share information about ptosis, including its causes, complications, and treatment options.
Causes of ptosis
When ptosis is present at birth, it’s often because the upper eyelid muscles are not fully developed. As a result, they droop over your child's eye or eyes. Ptosis can be present in one or both eyes.
At other times, ptosis is a symptom of another condition related to eye health and nerve and muscle health. Some of these conditions include:
- Myasthenia gravis
- Progressive external ophthalmoplegia
- Horner syndrome
- Third cranial nerve palsy
- Eyelid tumor
- Thyroid disease
Ptosis can run in families, so if you or your partner had it as a child, your child might also develop it. Ptosis can also be the result of an eye injury.
Complications of ptosis
Complications of ptosis are related to the severity of the eyelid droop. For example, if your child's eyelid covers their eye or interferes with their vision, complications that can develop include amblyopia, also called lazy eye, astigmatism, and double vision.
In addition to vision problems, your child may develop a strained neck and headaches. To see through the droopy eye, your child may tilt their chin up or bend their neck back. Repeatedly adopting this posture can cause neck problems and muscle strain.
Often, a child's forehead muscles compensate for the weak upper eyelid muscle, trying to raise it so the child can see better. Constant forehead contraction can also lead to headaches and other issues.
Treatment options for ptosis
Treatment options for ptosis depend on the symptoms. Usually, the treatment involves surgery to correct the eyelid and strengthen the muscle.
Then, if your child has developed vision problems related to vision impairment caused by the droopy eyelid, the ophthalmologist addresses those after the surgery.
Corrective eyeglasses can deal with astigmatism or other vision issues. For amblyopia, options include patching and corrective lenses.
If your child has a droopy eyelid and you'd like a diagnosis and treatment plan, call ABC Children's Eye Specialists PC in Phoenix or Mesa, Arizona, for an appointment, or request one online.