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Home > Services > Eye Care > Eye Conditions & Treatments > Ptosis (Eyelid Drooping)

Ptosis (Eyelid Drooping)


Eyelid drooping occurs when the upper eyelid is lower than normal. It looks as if the eyelid is partially closed. The drooping occurs without effort, and it may be difficult or impossible to lift the lid without assistance.

Eyelid drooping may occur in one or both eyes. If it appears in one eye, the eyes appear uneven. It may exist at birth or happen later in life. This symptom may also block vision out of the affected eye.


Causes of eyelid drooping includes:

  • Stroke
  • Damage to muscles, tendons, or nerves around the eyelid—may occur with age, eye surgery, injury to the eye
  • Myasthenia gravis (autoimmune disease of neuromuscular junction)
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome or Multiple sclerosis (autoimmune diseases of nerves)
  • Bell's palsy
  • Inherited condition (present at birth) — usually due to congenital anomaly or damage of facial nerves during birth
  • Facial nerve damage from injury, infection or tumors

Rarely, this symptom may be due to cancer or a growth near the eye or in the brain.

When Should I Get Care Immediately?

Get medical care right away or go to the emergency room right away if drooping starts suddenly. This may be a sign of a stroke. Other symptoms include:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

If you think you have an emergency, get medical care right away.

Do you have ptosis? 

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Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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