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Definition Return to top
Eyelid drooping is excessive sagging of the upper eyelid.
See also: Drooping eyelid disease
Considerations Return to top
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.
Causes Return to top
Both eyelids drooping:
One eyelid drooping:
Home Care Return to top
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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
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.
References Return to top
Custer PL. Blepharoptosis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, Augsburger JJ, et al, eds. Ophthalmology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2004: chap 86.Update Date: 11/10/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, 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.