Ptosis is a condition that causes the upper eyelid (one or both) to droop. Parents of children with ptosis will naturally have many questions about the condition and how it affects their child. The following questions and answers are commonly asked by parents who want to know how they can help their child with ptosis.

How can you know if your child has ptosis?

If your child has ptosis in only one eyelid you should see a pronounced difference between the two eyes when they're open. One eyelid may cover part of the pupil of that eye while the other eyelid is wide open and the pupil is unobstructed. If both eyes have ptosis, it will be difficult for your child to open both eyes over the pupil.

Does ptosis appear at birth or later?

Ptosis can appear at any time. Ptosis that appears in your child's eyes at birth is known as congenital ptosis. This type of ptosis is usually caused by insufficient development of a muscle in the upper eyelid called the levator palpebrae superioris. Ptosis that appears after birth is called acquired ptosis and can be caused by a variety of things. Injury to the oculomotor nerve or tendons in the eye, an eye mass, the stretching of the levator palpebrae superioris, Horner syndrome and other problems can all cause ptosis.

Does ptosis affect vision?

Ptosis can cause double vision, amblyopia (lazy eye), eye strain, blurred vision and astigmatism.

Does ptosis have any other negative effects?

Ptosis can lead to quick fatigue when reading. Many people who have ptosis compensate for the lowered eyelid by either raising their chin to see beneath the lid or by contracting the muscles in the forehead or eyebrow to raise the lid. Over time, this can cause the muscles or bones in the face or neck to develop deformities. This can also cause the muscles in the face or neck to develop pain as they strain to compensate for the visual problem.

What are the treatments for ptosis?

Depending on the cause of the ptosis, the typical treatment is surgery to tighten the affected muscle. However, the eyelid muscle and vision in the affected eye may never be completely normal. The success of the repair depends on the severity and cause of the condition.

If you suspect your child has ptosis, the best thing you can do is see an eye doctor immediately. An eye doctor will be able to answer your questions, diagnose the problem accurately, and make recommendations for treatment. 

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