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Eyelids That Droop

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about PTOSIS.

Dermatochalasis is the droopy or sagging eyelids seen commonly in old age. The eyelids appear to sag with excess “baggy” skin surrounding them. This is the age related cause of a droopy eyelid.

This is often referred to also as Ptosis (pronounced “toe-sis”) which is the general term for a droopy eyelid.

There are many general causes for a droopy eyelid to occur. They are:

CONGENITAL — The child is born with drooping eyelids because of a poor development of the eyelids. Early surgical correction is necessary if the eyelid blocks off vision. This is done in order to prevent the development of a “lazy eye” or “amblyopia”.

AGE RELATED PTOSIS (Aponuerotic Ptosis) — This also may be referred to as dermatochalasis. Occurs because of aging compounded with gravity. The eyelids are seen to sag over the eye. Both eyes are usually affected but drooping may be worse in one eye.

LOCAL EYE PROBLEMS — Nerve injury due to trauma, eyelid infections and tumours within the bony cavity or eyeball socket.

MYASTHENIA GRAVIS — This is a disease that can affect the whole body causing progressive muscle weakness. Eyelids and facial muscles including the legs, arms and other parts of the body may be affected. This condition will require a thorough assessment by a physician or neurologist. A test called Tensilon test where a drug called edrophonium chloride is injected into a vein in order to diagnose this condition.

NERVE PROBLEMS — Any nerve damage due to a stroke, aneurysm of blood vessel in the brain and brain tumor may cause a droopy eyelid. Nerve damage due to long standing diabetes mellitus may also cause a droopy eyelid.

TUMOURS — There is also a condition called Horner’s Syndrome where a cancerous tumour at the top part of the lungs results in one half of the face losing the ability to sweat along with a drooping eyelid.

STROKES — Any nerve damage due to a stroke, aneurysm of blood vessel in the brain and brain tumour may cause a droopy eyelid. Nerve damage due to long-term diabetes can also cause a droopy eyelid.

Whatever the cause of a drooping eyelid may be, you should get it checked out by a doctor especially if its sudden in onset or significant in appearance.

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Dr S.S. Gill

Dr S.S. Gill is a Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at Hospital Fatimah, Ipoh. For more information on Eye Health, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah 05 545 5582 or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

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