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Many people consider droopy eyelids (ptosis) to be a cosmetic concern. This is only partially true: saggy eyelids may affect the way a person looks, but they can also affect the way a person sees. At LASIK, Cornea and Cataract Specialty Center in El Paso, Texas, we provide treatment for both functional and cosmetic issues related to droopy eyelids.
What is Ptosis?
Blepharoptosis, or more simply, ptosis, means “droopy upper eyelids.” Ptosis may be something a person is born with (congenital ptosis), or it may be something that develops over time (involutional or acquired ptosis).
Ptosis is caused by problems with the levator muscle, which lifts the upper eyelid. In cases of adult ptosis, the levator muscle can be made to stretch away from the eyelid due to factors such as aging, eye injury, surgical side effects, or, very rarely, diseases of the eyelid muscle.1
Ptosis can be a cosmetic concern, making adults look older and more tired than they desire. Ptosis is also a functional concern for many of our patients, as it can limit the field of vision.
Droopy Eyelid Treatment
Eyelid Surgery for Ptosis
The surgery performed to address both cosmetic and functional ptosis concerns is called blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift surgery. Eyelid lift surgery is an outpatient procedure performed under IV sedation and local anesthesia. To begin the procedure, an eye surgeon makes a small incision in the creases of the upper eyelid. Next, the connection between the levator muscle and the eyelid plate is reformed or tightened and excess skin and fat are removed. Because the incision for blepharoplasty is made in the natural creases of the upper eyelid, eyelid surgery rarely results in visible scarring. Most of our eyelid surgery patients are able to get back to their normal activities in about a week.2
Upneeq®: Non-Surgical Treatment for Ptosis
In addition to blepharoplasty, we also offer our patients non-surgical ptosis treatment with Upneeq. Upneeq is a prescription eye drop that patients apply once a day to temporarily lift the upper eyelids. Upneeq has been approved by the FDA to treat adult (acquired) ptosis, which is caused by a decline in function of the muscles around the eyelids.
Hear from our patients!
My experience with the Doctors visit was very knowledgeable. The people were nice and they made me feel like family. The atmosphere was very inviting and made me feel like I was at home. The visit didn't take as long as I thought. Robert especially was very very helpful and I would recommend this place and Robert to my friends and family.Frank S.
I have been so pleased with Dr. DiPascuale and his staff. I've been a patient for 3 1/2 years and I can't give them enough thanks. They are the best. Always patient, kind and willing to help. From the front desk to medical billing they've always been so helpful. I'm so grateful I was referred to Dr. DiPascuale. When your doctor prays for you, that's something to shout about. I appreciate all they've done for me.Louann P.
Dr. Buentello was a great Dr! He was very friendly, informative, and patient. The Dr and staff went out of their way to help us out and made sure my husband's eye was ok. Definitely recommend them and he's staying as our family Dr.Christina B.
Will insurance cover my ptosis treatment?
Your medical insurance may cover droopy eyelid treatment if it is for functional concerns such as blocked or reduced field of vision that impacts activities of daily living. If your motivation for treating your droopy eyelids is solely cosmetic, the treatment is considered elective and not eligible for insurance coverage. In this case, we will be happy to help you learn more about the payment and financing options available to you.
What are the risks of droopy eyelid surgery?
While blepharoplasty is generally considered to be a safe procedure, especially when performed by an experienced eye surgeon, any surgical procedure carries some risk. Potential complications and side effects of blepharoplasty include:
- Impaired eyelid function
- Impaired eyesight
- Anesthesia complications
- Injury to the eye muscles
- Obvious scarring
- Numbness or changes in skin sensation
- Sensitivity to light3
Is Upneeq safe?
Upneeq has been FDA-approved for the treatment of acquired ptosis and is generally considered to be safe. Side effects of Upneeq only affect 1-5% of patients, and may include:
- Dry eye
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain or irritation
1 American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Ptosis? Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-ptosis#:~:text=Ptosis%20is%20when%20the%20upper,and%20adults%20can%20have%20ptosis. Accessed September 14, 2022.
2 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the steps of an eyelid surgery procedure? Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/eyelid-surgery/procedure. Accessed September 14, 2022.
3 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the risks of eyelid surgery? Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/eyelid-surgery/safety. Accessed September 14, 2022.
4 RVL Pharmaceuticals. Upneeq Patient Information. Available: https://upneeq.com/what-is-acquired-ptosis/. Accessed September 14, 2022.