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Causes of droopy eyes & eyelids

There are several causes for drooping eyelids (ptosis) where the most common cause is

lifestyle and age. Apart from this, birth defects, injury, nerve or muscle disorder may also

cause eyelid droop. Let us now go through each and every cause for drooping eyes and eyelids:


One of the most common causes of drooping eyelids is age and this will usually affect both eyes. It

causes wrinkling of the skin and stretching of the levator muscle of the eyes. Ageing can also create a tired appearance as well as sadness, which is sometimes referred to as ‘weepy eyes’. This condition leads affected people to think about cosmetic surgery that can help to lift the upper eyelid.


Congenital droopy eyes is where droopy eyelids are present in a newborn baby and could be due to the underdevelopment of the levator muscle of the eye. The levator is the muscle that helps lift the upper eyelids. In some cases, where the eyelid covers the pupil, surgery is definitely suggested.


Cranial nerve and brain injuries can cause ptosis as it affects the nerve supply to the muscles of the eyes and eyelids. Brain tumor, stroke, aneurysm and long-term diabetes may also cause this to happen. Also, multiple sclerosis is a condition that arises from degeneration of the fatty sheath surrounding the nerve. Ptosis is a symptom of this, along with muscle weakness and lack of condition.


Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy is an inherited muscle disease that affects the eye movement and may also cause issues such as swollen eyes. Another muscle disease known as progressive external ophthalmoplegia takes place more often in young adults and may also cause bilateral ptosis.

Myasthenia gravis is an uncommon disease, where there is weakness of voluntary muscles as a result of a communication problem between the nerves and the muscles. The symptoms of this disease may be an increase in repeated muscle usage. However, there is no cure for myasthenia gravis and medication may only help to get rid of or ease the symptoms.


Another common cause of droopy eyelids is injury. Trauma to the eye as the result of an assault or an accidental injury to the eye may also result in ptosis. 


Dermatochalasis is a kind of connective tissue disease where the skin on the lower and the upper eyelid loses elasticity and so it hangs down in folds and starts giving the impression of droopy eyes. This disease is generally associated with ageing, however they may also be a genetic predisposition. Some other conditions like an injury to the eye and its surrounding tissue, skin disorders, thyroid disease, chronic renal disease and some skin disorders may also be involved. Sometimes, it may also cause issues with vision.


Apart from the above causes, there are some other local eye issues may also cause your eyelids to droop. They include:

  • Smoking and alcohol abuse
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hereditary factors
  • Over-exposure to the sun
  • Fatigue, eye strain and lack of sleep can lead to baggy eyes and baggy eyelids and give the impression of droopy eyes
  • Allergies and fluid retention can also contribute to droopy eyes but does not cause ptosis
  • Facial palsy which may be accompanied by a facial droop

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