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Learning About Ptosis

What is ptosis?

Ptosis (say "TOH-sus") means that the upper eyelid droops in a way that's not normal. Some people are born with ptosis. Others may get it later in life. It may be caused by problems with the muscles or nerves that help move the eyelid. If muscle or nerve problems cause ptosis, it may be more serious.

What are the symptoms?

When you have ptosis, the drooping eyelid may block your vision. This can make it very hard to do your daily activities. Some people also have headaches or fatigue.

How is it diagnosed?

To find out if you have ptosis, your doctor will ask questions about your eye problems and do an examination. The doctor will test the strength of the muscles that move the eyelid. If your doctor thinks there may be a problem with the muscles or nerves, you may have more tests. These include imaging tests, such as an MRI, and tests to check the nerves.

How is ptosis treated?

Treatment for ptosis depends on the cause. Your doctor will try to find the cause and see if treatment may help. Some causes of ptosis may go away on their own over time. If ptosis interferes with your vision, your doctor may talk to you about having surgery.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse eye pain.
  • You have vision changes.
  • You have double vision.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.