Ptosis

Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled diagram of the structure of the retina

Ptosis is also known as blepharoptosis, which has the same meaning.

(However, note that when used as a suffix, "-ptosis" denotes a lowered position of tissue, a body part, or organ.)


Ptosis refers to the drooping of the upper eyelid, that is the upper eyelid resting at a lower position than is normal. Either just one eye (unilateral) or both eye (bilateral) may be affected.

Possible causes of ptosis include:

  • Disorder of the third cranial nerve, the oculomotor nerve.
    In this case ptosis is likely to be accompanied by paralysis of eye movements.
  • Horner's Syndrome.
    In this case ptosis is likely to be accompanied by a small pupil and absence of sweating on the affected side of the face
  • Myasthenia Gravis.
    In this case ptosis will increase with fatigue (tiredness) and be part of more widespread fatigue.
  • Congenital.
    In this case the ptosis is present from birth.
  • Disease of the eye muscles.
    In this case the ptosis is accompanied by weak or lacking ability to move the eye.

Treatment options include addressing any treatable cause(s).

If appropriate, surgery may be recommended and may involve adjustments to relevant tissues and facial muscles.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

The following books may also be of interest:

The Aging Eye (Harvard Medical School)
MCQ Companion to the Eye (Textbook)
The Secret of Perfect Vision: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Nearsightedness
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Glaucoma: The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight

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