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Ptosis: Get the Scoop on the Droop

by | May 4, 2018 | Blog

Are you familiar with an eye condition known as ptosis? Forrest Whittaker is. The Academy Award-winning actor has this congenital problem. It causes an abnormal drooping of the upper eyelid. “I don’t think it makes me look bad or anything,” he has been quoted as saying. He has also said he is considering corrective surgery, however, because ptosis does affect his vision.

At our facial plastic surgery practice, our founder Dr George Marcells has helped many people overcome problems caused by ptosis. His surgical technique and aesthetic skill help ensure optimal outcomes. If you have this common eye condition and have been wondering what can be done about it, we hope this article will answer some of your questions.

Eyelid Ptosis: Congenital, Senile, & Everything in Between

A drooping upper eyelid is the most visible sign of ptosis. People with this problem often complain of:

  • Headaches due to eyestrain
  • Headaches due to forehead strain (opening eyes wide using forehead muscles)
  • The need to tilt their heads to see better
  • The need to use eyebrow muscles in order to lift the eyelid

There is no mistaking the symptoms of ptosis, but there was once a bit of confusion regarding the identification and subsequent treatment of a droopy eyelid.

Show Us Your ID: Congenital vs. Senile Ptosis

Today, we know that ptosis is actually an umbrella term referring to

  • Congenital ptosis – a condition where someone is born with weak eyelid muscles.
  • Senile Ptosis – a condition that generally develops as people age, but is also seen in teenagers and middle-aged patients.

After a general diagnosis of congenital vs. senile ptosis, Dr Marcells then determines whether it is mild, moderate or severe. Over time, many people with congenital ptosis will experience a progression of their condition. The muscles continue to weaken, making the droop more visible or noticeable.This is how a mild form of congenital ptosis progresses into moderate ptosis, and then to severe ptosis.

On the other hand, the eye muscles of people with senile ptosis are in good shape… “The detachment occurs due to everyday wear and tear on the muscles from blinking and other eye functions,” explains Dr Marcells.

Ptosis Surgery Saves the Day (and Your Vision)

Dr Marcells uses his diagnostic expertise to determine which surgical technique will be most effective:

  • Tightening the levator muscle to elevate the eyelid.
  • A “sling” operation that allows the forehead muscles to elevate the eyelid (for severe ptosis).
  • Surgery on the muscle on the inside of the lid (for mild ptosis).

Don’t Raise an Eyebrow

Dr Marcells is a specialist facial plastic surgeon with extensive knowledge of the eyelids, orbit, and tear drain system. His surgical goal is to re-position the eyelid to an appropriate level, thereby giving his patient a full field of vision and improved eye symmetry. If ptosis is interfering with your vision and having an impact on the quality of your life, we hope you’ll contact our practice and give us the opportunity to help you.

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Meet Dr Marcells

Past President – Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons

Dr George Marcells is known for excellence in facial plastic surgery and is considered a true master of rhinoplasty. He performs advanced surgical techniques to restore balance and harmony to the face and can also resolve functional issues such as breathing difficulties.

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