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What is ptosis?

Ptosis (say “TOH-sus”) means that the upper eyelid droops in a way that’s not normal. Some people are born with ptosis. Others may get it later in life. It may be caused by problems with the muscles or nerves that help move the eyelid. If muscle or nerve problems cause ptosis, it may be more serious.

  • Diagnosis

    How is ptosis diagnosed?

    To find out if you have ptosis, your doctor will ask questions about your eye problems and do an exam. The doctor will test the strength of the muscles that move the eyelid. If your doctor thinks there may be a problem with the muscles or nerves, you may have more tests. These include imaging tests, such as an MRI, and tests to check the nerves.

  • Treatment

    How is ptosis treated?

    Treatment for ptosis depends on the cause. Your doctor will try to find the cause and see if treatment may help. Some causes of ptosis may go away on their own over time. If ptosis interferes with your vision, your doctor may talk to you about having surgery.

  • Seeking care

    Ptosis: When to call

    Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

    • You have new or worse eye pain.
    • You have vision changes.
    • You have double vision.

    Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

    • You do not get better as expected.

    Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.