Help and frequently asked questions

What causes a droopy eyelid?


Ageing is usually the primary cause of a droopy eyelid. Two conditions are commonly associated with a droopy upper eye eyelid: dermatochalasis and ptosis.

What is dermatochalasis?

Dermatochalasis is when excess skin develops in the upper or lower eyelid, which can overhang and affect your vision. It is caused by a loss of elasticity in the skin, often due to ageing. People with dermatochalasis may also experience blepharitis, which is inflammation of the eyelids at the eyelid margin. If vision loss is sufficient, surgery is an option.

What is ptosis?

Ptosis is characterised by the upper eyelid drooping down, reducing the eye opening. The condition is caused when the muscles responsible for keeping the eyelid open, become too weak to function properly.This can occur in one or both eyes and is more likely to occur later in the day as the muscles become tired. While usually age-related, ptosis can develop for other reasons and is sometimes congenital, meaning it is present from birth. Surgery may be required in cases where ptosis causes the eyelid to droop so much that it affects vision. This is more likely when it is present in both eyelids. When ptosis comes on suddenly or is associated with other symptoms, such as headaches or vision loss, it is important to see your optometrist immediately.More serious underlying causes of ptosis include nerve and brain damage, as well as diseases such as diabetes.

My lower eyelid droops outwards. What causes this?

Some people may experience lower eyelid droop. This is where the eyelid droops away from the eye and turns outwards. Known as ectropion, the condition is usually age related but can be associated with sun-damaged skin. Typically, no treatment is required in mild cases. However, if the condition is causing excessive eye watering or discomfort then surgery may be advised.