Ptosis is a relatively uncommon eye problem in kids, but when it does occur, it can cause long-lasting problems. Sometimes called blepharoptosis, ptosis happens when one or both upper eyelids droop lower than they normally should.
As leaders in pediatric ophthalmology services, the team at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists offers custom treatments for childhood ptosis for patients at their Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, offices.
If you suspect your child has ptosis, here’s what you need to know about the condition and why it’s important to have it evaluated as soon as possible.
Why ptosis happens
There are two “types” of ptosis: congenital, which is present at birth, and acquired, which develops later on during childhood.
Congenital ptosis usually happens when the muscle that lifts the eyelid doesn’t develop in a normal way, leaving it too weak to do its job. Nerve problems or birth injuries can also lead to eyelid drooping.
Acquired ptosis develops when another underlying condition affects the muscles and nerves associated with normal lid movement. That could include tumors, trauma, muscle diseases, neurological disorders, and more.
Ptosis-related problems: More than vision
Most people understand the link between ptosis and vision problems: When an eyelid sags even a little, it can wind up blocking vision or blocking light that makes vision crisper and clearer. What’s often less clear are the other ways ptosis can affect a child.
When ptosis affects one lid, vision in that eye may be weaker, and that can lead to amblyopia — also called “lazy eye.” In some cases, the pressure of the lid may lead to corneal damage, double vision (diplopia), crossed eyes (strabismus), or refractive vision problems, like astigmatism.
A child who has ptosis frequently tilts their head back to see more clearly, and over time, they can wind up with some pretty painful neck and back symptoms. Or they may continually raise their eyebrows in an attempt to clear their vision, leading to facial pain and headaches.
Then, of course, there are cosmetic concerns that can take a toll on a child’s self-confidence.
What about mild ptosis?
Very mild ptosis may not cause any noticeable problems initially. But don’t put off getting a medical evaluation.
First of all, ptosis can worsen and cause issues in the future. But just as importantly, ptosis can also be a sign of more serious underlying issues, including neuromuscular disorders or tumors.
No matter how mild your child’s symptoms may seem, it’s essential to have them evaluated, so the eye doctor can determine what’s causing the lid to droop.
Bottom line: Ptosis always needs to be evaluated, and treatment is always recommended to avoid more serious issues that can affect your child’s health and vision. Our team recommends treatments depending on:
- The cause of ptosis
- The extent of drooping
- Whether ptosis is in one or both eyes
- The symptoms your child has
- Your child’s age
Many children with ptosis benefit from eyelid surgery to repair the muscle that lifts the lid, or to attach the lid to other muscles that can perform the same function.
If ptosis has caused other vision issues, like amblyopia or refractive error, our team treats those issues too. Those treatments could include eye patching, eye drops, corrective lenses, or other therapies.
Learn more about ptosis
Whether your child has ptosis in one eyelid or both, whether the drooping is severe or mild, whether they have symptoms or not — they need to be evaluated as soon as possible.
To schedule your child’s evaluation or to learn more about ptosis treatment, book an appointment online or over the phone at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists today.