Let's Learn About Ptosis

There are several eye conditions that can affect our kid's ability to see, one of which is Ptosis... though you may know it as "droopy eyelid". Ptosis can prevent light from entering a child's developing eye and lead to other conditions such as amblyopia, astigmatism or anisometropia. So what is Ptosis, why does it occur, what are the signs and how do we treat it?

What is Ptosis?

Ptosis is a condition in which the upper eyelid of one or both eyes droops over the eye. It may only droop a little or the upper eyelid may sag so much that it completely covers the eye, preventing the pupil from letting in light.

It is not uncommon for a child with ptosis to also have anisometropia (an imbalance between each eye's optical power due to refractive errors) or astigmatism (where the eye is shaped like a football). These conditions, in conjunction with the ptosis, can lead to amblyopia (curious eye), where the brain relies on the stronger eye to see, preventing the affected eye from developing properly. This can have a long-term impact on your child's vision. 

What Causes Ptosis?

When kids are born with ptosis, it is called congenital ptosis and while the cause is not always clear, it usually has to do with an underdeveloped levator muscle (the muscle that lifts the eyelid). Ptosis can also occur when the levator muscle has been overstretched or weakened, usually as a side effect of an injury, surgery or other conditions such as eye muscle disease or a tumour.

Want to learn more? Check out this video by Free Med Education!

What Are the Signs of Ptosis?

The most common sign of ptosis is one or both eyelids drooping, hence why the condition is often referred to as "droopy eyelid". The severity of the drooping is unique between patients and sometimes, isn't obvious to the untrained eye. The easiest way to check is to have your child sit still (we know, that's a challenge) and look at an object. If the eyelid creases do not line up evenly or if you notice any of the five signs your child may need an eye test, you should book in a consultation with an eye care professional.

How is Ptosis Treated?

In cases where the child is young and the ptosis does not affect vision, your ophthalmologist may recommend a wait and see approach and assess if the condition worsens as your child's eyes develop. In most cases, your ophthalmologist will recommend surgery to either tighten the levator muscle or to attach it to other muscles in the eye that can help lift the eyelid. If the signs of amblyopia are already evident, your ophthalmologist may also encourage occlusion therapy (patching), wearing eyeglasses, contacts or using eye drops to allow the "curious eye" to strengthen. 

What should I do if I think my child has Ptosis?

If you notice any of the symptoms of ptosis, we recommend you visit your local optometrist who can perform visual acuity tests and if necessary, refer you to an ophthalmologist. Here at Speckles, we’re here to support you every step of the way, so if you have any questions just message us on Facebook or Instagram and our friendly team will be happy to help.