Can Droopy Eyelids Affect Your Vision

Droopy, or heavy, eyelids can make you look older than you actually are, or make you appear tired even after a great night of sleep. Sometimes the problem with droopy lids is simply cosmetic, but in many cases they may also interfere with vision. Droopy eyelids are caused by two conditions, dermatochalasis and ptosis, so let’s take a look at how these conditions create heavy lids and what can be done to correct the problem.

Excess Skin

With dermatochalasis, there is excess skin on the eyelid. This can occur on either the upper or lower eyelid. The folded, baggy skin on the eyelids often makes eyes appear swollen or puffy. The most common cause of dermatochalasis is aging, when skin naturally loses elasticity. However, anyone of any age can be affected by excess skin on the eyelids either from genetics, weakened connective tissue, thyroid eye disease, or eye trauma.

Muscle Weakness

Ptosis is another eye condition that causes the eyelid to droop. 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 begins to droop down over the eye, sometimes covering part of the pupil. People can be born with ptosis or the condition develop due to aging, nerve damage, migraines, or a paralysis.

Affect On Vision

Droopy eyelids, whether from excess skin or muscle weakness can make you look tired or sad, but they can also affect your vision, particularly loss of peripheral vision. When a heavy eyelid covers part of the eye that wouldn’t normally be covered, the field of vision is reduced and the eye is exposed to less light. Some people with droopy eyelids develop a habit of raising their eyebrows to improve vision or tilting their head back to try to see under the heavy lid. Additional symptoms may include difficulty reading, frontal headaches, dry eye, eye irritation, and dermatitis.


Dermatochalasis and ptosis can be corrected with surgery by a specially trained oculoplastic surgeon, but the procedures are different. Dermatochalasis is corrected by blepharoplasty, a procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the eyelid. Ptosis surgery often involves tightening a muscle to lift your eyelids.

With either procedure, the result is a rejuvenated appearance of your eye, a more youthful look to your face, and improved vision. Patients often experience improved vision while reading or watching TV, more light with reading from the lid being raised higher or excess skin being removed. In addition, patients often report improved peripheral vision that they notice while driving, and many comment on how much they realize they were not seeing before surgery compared to after.

If an ophthalmologist or eye surgeon recommends eyelid surgery because your lids are affecting your vision, the procedure is considered medically necessary and therefore may be paid for by insurance.

If you’re concerned that your droopy or heavy eyelids are affecting your vision, or are making you look older or more tired than you actually are, eyelid surgery may be for you.

At Baptist Eye Surgeons, Dr. Anzeljc is an experienced oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructive, plastic, and cosmetic surgical procedures to 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.

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