What Is Eyelid Ptosis?

What Is Eyelid Ptosis?

Ptosis is the clinical term for sagging. Eyelid ptosis is usually not a health concern (although in some cases, it may indicate an underlying medical cause), but it can be severe enough to affect vision and limit tasks like driving or reading. If your eyelids appear saggy or impede your vision, facial plastic surgeon Dr. Michael McCracken can help. Here, he explains what you need to know about eyelid ptosis and what can be done about it.

What Causes Eyelid Ptosis?

Eyelid ptosis can be present at birth or acquired and may affect one or both eyelids. In rare congenital cases, the levator muscle that is responsible for lifting the eyelid does not properly develop. If ptosis is acquired, the most common cause is the natural effects of the aging process. Over time, the levator muscle weakens and stretches out and the eyelid falls. However, ptosis can also be caused by any of the following factors:

  • A temporary medical condition like a sty
  • A neurological disorder that affects the nerves and muscles of the eyes
  • A serious medical disorder like stroke, brain tumor or cancer
  • Trauma to the eyes or eyelids

Eyelid ptosis may range from mild to severe. Minor cases are typically a cosmetic concern but more severe cases can obstruct the eye’s pupil, blocking or reducing vision.


The most obvious sign of ptosis is noticeably sagging eyelids that can give the entire face a weary appearance. Other symptoms include decreased field of vision, trouble keeping the eyelids open, and headache or brow ache. People with ptosis may constantly arch their eyebrows or tilt their head back to see past the sagging eyelids.

Eyelid Ptosis Treatment Options

The only way to address eyelid ptosis is through surgical correction, though there are many natural techniques that don’t work. There is no cream or serum that can lift the lid skin or tighten the muscle. There are no eyelid exercises to effectively strengthen the muscle. Insurance coverage is a possibility for correction of ptosis that obstructs sight. If you are experiencing this, check with your insurer for details.


During eyelid surgery, incisions are made in the natural crease of the lid or inside the lid. The incisions are placed in a way so that scarring is hardly noticeable. Through the incision, Dr. McCracken tightens the levator muscle that lifts the eyelid. He can also remove any excess skin that sags or droops over the lashline, if needed.


If it has been determined that the ptosis is caused by an underlying medical condition (like a stroke or cancer), it is important to seek the appropriate medical care from a physician.

Learn More about Ptosis Correction

Contact Dr. McCracken to learn more about the causes of ptosis and what can be done about it. Call (720) 851-6600 today to schedule an appointment with the doctor.