Ptosis is the clinical name for a droopy eyelid. This condition can occur in one or both eyes, and may have a negative impact on vision. Mild ptosis may barely be noticeable, while severe ptosis can descend below the pupil.
Ptosis can occur in children and adults alike. However, today, we will primarily focus on ptosis and pediatric eye care, and discuss what can be done to correct this condition in young children.
At our Monterey, CA practice, our doctors offer various treatments in pediatric eye care to maintain healthy vision in your child for years to come.
What Causes Ptosis?
Ptosis occurs when the levator muscle is not working properly. The condition can be caused by thinning or detachment of the levator aponeurosis, or the levator muscle tendon.
Ptosis can also be caused by trauma following significant swelling of the eyelid. In other cases, it can result from neurologic conditions such as Horner’s syndrome, myasthenia gravis, or oculomotor nerve palsy.
Ptosis Signs and Symptoms
The most obvious indicator of ptosis is a droopy eyelid. Patients with this condition are commonly worried about the aesthetics of their appearance. Of course, if vision is impaired, that is a significant concern.
Common signs and symptoms of ptosis include:
- An increasing heaviness of the eyelid
- Constant raising of the eyes or tilting of the head in an attempt to see better
- Impaired vision
- Frequent headaches due to muscle and eye strain
If you notice that your child is constantly lifting his or her head or raising his or her eyebrows frequently, it is a good indication that vision is impaired. Therefore, it is important to visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible to explore your treatment options.
Ptosis in Children
Some children are born with ptosis. This congenital condition occurs when the levator muscle is affected by a developmental defect. As a result, the poorly developed muscle cannot properly lift the eyelid.
Generally speaking, surgical correction for congenital ptosis is postponed until after age six, if the child is not experiencing vision impairment. If the child’s vision is negatively affected before the age of six, ptosis surgery can be performed to encourage optimal visual development.
Congenital ptosis can become worse with age. Untreated ptosis can be exacerbated with the natural effects of aging. For this reason, it is important to treat the condition as early as reasonably possible.
Treatments for Congenital Ptosis
To correct congenital ptosis, a frontalis sling surgery can be performed. During this procedure, the eyelid is coupled to the frontalis muscle. This is done with either a fascial sling or synthetic material, which will aid in lifting the eyelid.
Because the patient must adapt to this difference, it is best to perform the procedure when the child is still young.
Learn More about Congenital Ptosis
If you are concerned that your child may be suffering from vision impairment from ptosis, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. We can help you determine if the condition should be treated or simply monitored.
Our skilled doctors have years of experience treating patients of all ages. Rest assured that when you bring your child to Monterey County Eye Associates, he or she will receive compassionate, comprehensive care. To schedule a visit, call our office at (831) 375-2020 or contact us online.