A common question we hear is, “What can I do about my droopy upper eyelids?” Heavy, or droopy, upper eyelids can make you look older or more tired than you actually are. In some cases, heavy upper eyelids can also interfere with your vision, so it’s understandable to want to know what can be done about them.
Droopy eyelids are caused by two conditions, dermatochalasis and ptosis. Dermatochalasis is excess skin on the eyelid, which can make eyes appear puffy or swollen. Baggy, excess skin on the upper eyelid is typically the result of aging, but anyone can have excess skin on the eyelids at any age due to genetics, weak connective tissue, thyroid eye disease, or eye trauma.
While dermatochalasis is caused by excess skin on the eyelid, ptosis is typically caused by muscle weakness in the eyelid. When the levator muscle in the eyelid is weak, the lid droops down over the eye, sometimes covering part of the pupil. Ptosis can be congenital or can develop due to aging, nerve damage, or migraines.
Whether from excess skin or muscle weakness, droopy, heavy eyelids can affect your vision, particularly your peripheral vision. When a heavy eyelid covers part of your eye that wouldn’t normally be covered, your eye is exposed to less light and your field of vision is narrowed. Heavy upper eyelids can also cause frontal headaches, eye irritation, dry eye, and dermatitis.
Upper Eyelid Surgery
Excess skin and fat can be removed from the eyelids with a surgical procedure called blepharoplasty, while ptosis can be corrected by surgically tightening the muscle that lifts your eyelids.
As an example of each, the top 2 photos at the top of this blog post show the before and after effects of a patient who had surgery to correct ptosis, or weakened eyelid muscles. The bottom two photos show the before and after effects of surgery to correct dermatochalasis, or excess skin on her upper eyelids.
With both procedures, the results after surgery are natural and more open-looking eyes, which creates a more rejuvenated, youthful look. Both patients also experienced improved vision.
In both cases, upper eyelid surgery was recommended because these patients’ eyelids were affecting their vision during daily activities, so their procedures were considered medically necessary. When upper eyelid surgery is recommended to improve vision versus purely for cosmetic effects, the procedure is typically covered by insurance.
If you’re concerned that your heavy or droopy upper eyelids are affecting your vision, or are making you look older or more tired than you actually are, you may want to consider eyelid surgery.
At Baptist Eye Surgeons, Dr. Anzeljc is an experienced oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic, reconstructive, and plastic surgical procedures that improve patients’ vision, appearance, or both. Dr. Anzeljc also specializes in non-surgical procedures including Botox and fillers to improve the appearance of the eyes and to rejuvenate the face.
Baptist Eye Surgeons is an ophthalmological practice in Knoxville, TN, and Morristown, TN, dedicated to providing quality eye care to patients whose needs range from routine comprehensive eye examinations to complex eye surgeries. To meet our doctors and learn more about our specialities, visit our website or give us a call at 865-579-3920 for more information or to schedule an appointment.