Eyelid drooping is excessive sagging of the upper eyelid.
See also: Drooping eyelid disease
A drooping eyelid can stay constant, worsen over time (progressive), or come and go (intermittent). It can be one-sided or on both sides. When drooping is one-sided (unilateral), it is easy to detect by comparing the two eyelids. Drooping is more difficult to detect when it occurs on both sides, or if there is only a slight problem.
A furrowed forehead or a chin-up head position may indicate that someone is trying to see under their drooping lids. Eyelid drooping can make someone appear sleepy or tired.
Drooping lids are either present at birth (congenital) or develop later in life. A drooping eyelid is not a reason to panic, but you should report it to your doctor.
Drooping eyelids may be due to a variety of conditions include aging, diabetes, stroke, Horner syndrome, myasthenia gravis, or a brain tumor or other cancer that affects nerve or muscle reactions. Below are some common causes.
Both eyelids drooping:
One eyelid drooping:
Below is a list of recommendations based on the various causes of eye drooping:
For all other causes -- follow your health care provider's recommendations.
Contact your health care provider if:
Your health care provider will get a medical history and perform a physical examination.
Medical history questions may include:
The physical examination may include a detailed assessment of nerve functioning.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
Surgery may be necessary to correct problems with the muscles that open the eyelid (levator muscle dysfunction).
You may get special spectacle frames that suspend the eyelid by traction with a wire. Usually these frames help patients with temporary, partial paralysis, or those who are not good candidates for surgery.
After seeing your health care provider:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to eyelid drooping to your personal medical record.
Custer PL. Blepharoptosis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.5.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2013, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.