As we get older, the lower eyelids sometimes start to droop away from the eyeball. Drooping is the result of reduced muscle tone in the muscles that control the eyelids.
If your lower eyelids droop outward, away from the eye (ectropion), they may no longer be able to protect your eyes, and your eyes may become dry and irritated. If your eyelids turn inward (entropion), forcing the lashes onto the eye, this also may cause irritation and possible damage.
Also, drooping eyelids can prevent tears from draining normally, so tears may run down your cheeks. Excessive tearing can also be a sign of increased sensitivity to light or wind, an eye infection, or a blocked tear duct.
If your upper eyelids droop low enough (ptosis), or the eyelid skin folds over the edge of the lid, your vision may be impaired.
There is no home treatment for drooping eyelids. But surgery can sometimes help.
When to Call a Doctor
Call a doctor if:
- Your eye is painful or there is swelling extending beyond the lid margins.
- Your eyelids droop suddenly.
- Drooping eyelids interfere with your vision.
- Your eyes are dry and irritated, or your eyelids do not close completely while you are awake or asleep.
- Your eyelashes start to rub on your eyeball.
Other Places To Get Help
|P.O. Box 7424|
|San Francisco, CA 94120-7424|
EyeSmart is a public information Web site provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It provides general information and brochures on eye conditions and diseases and low-vision resources and services.
|National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health|
|31 Center Drive MSC 2510|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-2510|
As part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the National Eye Institute provides information on eye diseases and vision research. Publications are available to the public at no charge. The Web site includes links to various information resources.
Other Works Consulted
- Horton JC (2008). Disorders of the eye. In AS Fauci et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th ed., vol. 1, pp. 180–195. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Sullivan JH, et al. (2008). Lids, lacrimal apparatus, and tears. In P Riordan-Eva, JP Whitcher, eds., Vaughan and Asbury's General Ophthalmology, 17th ed., pp. 79–97. New York: McGraw-Hill.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology|
|Last Revised||March 21, 2011|
Last Revised: March 21, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
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