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January 2012: Fix My Droopy Eyelids!

28 Dec 2011

Dr. Abe Kaplan is a board certified ophthalmologist with an office at Weiss Memorial Hospital. His areas of expertise include eyelid surgery, cataract surgery and diseases of the eye.

Abe Kaplan, M.D.
Ophthalmologist
Weiss Memorial Hospital
(773) 561-5655

While there are many things that can be bothersome about the eyes, the most common complaint is droopy upper eyelids. This condition can cause a heavy feeling to the eyes, and can make them feel tired.

Reading can also be difficult with droopy eye lids, because it feels as though the lids want to close when we look down at a book or newspaper. Droopy lids can make people feel like they are always “in the dark,” as if a baseball cap is pulled down over their eyes. These symptoms can make routine eye function extremely frustrating. Cosmetically, droopy lids can make people appear either old or sleepy.

What causes droopy eyelids?
There are actually two different causes for droopy eyelids – Dermatochalasis and Ptosis:

Dermatochalasis, the more common eyelid problem, simply means excess skin hanging over what is an otherwise normal eyelid. Sometimes there is so much extra skin it can hang all the way down to the lashes. This extra skin covers the “eye shadow space,” meaning in order to apply eye shadow, the person would first have to lift the extra skin out of the way, just to get to the lid underneath.

The surgery to fix dermatochalasis is called upper lid blepharoplasty. This procedure involves the removal of extra skin (and sometimes excess underlying fat) while under local anesthesia in an operating room. 

Ptosis occurs when the lid itself hangs too low, covering the pupil. Instead of too much skin hanging on top of the lid, the edge of the lid (where the eyelashes come out) is simply too low. This usually stems from a problem with the muscles controlling the opening and closing of the eyelid. Sometimes these muscles get stretched out, much like an old rubber band that over time gets too loose and no longer snaps back.

Ptosis repair surgery tightens these eyelid muscles, thereby restoring the patient’s normal lid height. Like blepharoplasty, ptosis repair is also performed under local anesthesia in an operating room.

Once healed from either blepharoplasty or ptosis repair, the patient often feels like they see better, their eyes no longer feel heavy or tired, and their world is literally brighter since the “baseball cap” has been removed. They also have a more vibrant, rejuvenated appearance—which may result in many compliments!

For more information
If you are being troubled by these (or any other) eyelid problems, please call Dr. Kaplan at (773) 561-5655 for an evaluation. If your eyelid issues are causing significant functional problems with your vision, your insurance may cover the cost of the surgery.