Whether it’s wrinkles, sunspots, or sagging skin, the years can inflict subtle changes over time. These issues can sneak up on you and then surprise you once they catch your eye. Most times, they’re just typical side effects of aging. Nothing to worry about, except another reminder of the passing of time.
What we might brush off as a consequence of age, however, may sometimes signify something more. In the case of drooping eyelids, known as ptosis or blepharoptosis, it can be a symptom of other health conditions, some of them serious. The following are a few reasons you may want to have your droopy eyelids checked by a healthcare professional.
12. Your Eye May Be Infected
Pinkeye, also called styes or conjunctivitis, can cause inflammation around the eyes. We think of pinkeye as an infection in young children, but adults can also suffer from pinkeye infections. Eventually, drooping eyelids from pinkeye heal and return to normal, which takes about one to two weeks. If an eye infection takes longer to heal or you have pain or fever, you may need to check in with health providers. In severe cases, antibiotics or surgery may be necessary to treat the infection.
11. You Hurt Your Eyes or the Areas Around It
When the levator muscle in the eye is injured, the lids may start to sag. For instance, an accident’s impact can harm the muscles surrounding the eyes, causing the lids to droop. Over time, rubbing or tugging at the eyes can also weaken the muscles and result in sagging. In most cases, surgery can fix this problem.
10. You’ve Used Botox
If you’ve had treatment on your face with Botox, it may cause your eyelids to droop. Botox comes from the botulinum toxin, which causes muscle paralysis. Botox treatments near the eyelids may cause eyelids to droop. Botox eventually wears off. However, if the drooping eyelid causes you concern, you can check with your healthcare professional for more information.
9. You May Be Having a Stroke
When you’re experiencing a stroke, your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen and nutrients. A stroke occurs when a clot blocks blood flow or a vessel bursts. The lack of oxygen can make one side of your face droop. If your eyelids suddenly begin to droop and you also experience trouble seeing, speaking, or walking, get help fast.
8. You May Suffer from Mitochondrial Myopathies
When mitochondrial myopathies occur, eyes and eyelids can weaken, causing drooping. These genetic diseases may also cause mild vision issues. Children with mitochondrial myopathies are encouraged to have frequent vision checks. Even as adults, mitochondrial myopathies can affect the vision. Healthcare professionals might suggest nutritional supplements like carnitine or coenzyme Q.Related: 8 Reasons for Red Eyes and What to Do
7. You May Have a Tumor
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) typically appears in childhood. It’s not generally cancerous, but there’s no cure for it. Surgery or radiation treatments may help to get rid of tumors that cause eyelid drooping. These tumors may weigh the area down, causing eyelids to sag and get in the way of vision.
6. You May Have Diabetes
Diabetes can damage blood vessels because of high blood sugar. Large amounts of sugar in the blood can destroy nerves and blood vessels in and around the eyes. As a result, the eyelids sag and vision becomes blurry. You might get a droopy eyelid along with double vision. In most cases, stabilizing blood sugar can help prevent further harm. If vision becomes severely compromised, then surgery might be necessary.
5. You Were Born with Drooping Eyelids
For some people, drooping eyelids are something they’re born with. If the muscles in the eyes don’t form correctly, it can cause ptosis. Children born with ptosis might have problems seeing or may develop a “lazy eye.” In severe cases, surgery may help to prevent further issues.
4. You May Have Bleeding Inside Your Brain
A brain aneurysm is also called a hemorrhagic stroke. This is a burst blood vessel in your brain which causes bleeding, and it is a severe emergency. If you have droopy eyelids, eye pain, sudden vision changes, and numbness, get help immediately. Many brain aneurysms can be treated if spotted quickly.
3. You May Have Horner Syndrome or Other Disorders Affecting Your Nerves
Your head has many nerve pathways, many of them related to your eyes and the muscles in your face. Damage to these nerve pathways can cause eyelids to droop. In the case of Horner syndrome, the injured eye may display a smaller than average pupil. Interestingly, Horner syndrome may also cause the affected part of your face to remain dry and sweat free.
2. You May Have Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects your muscles. The immune system destroys the signals between nerves and muscles, which can affect the way muscles behave. In some instances, myasthenia gravis results in eye drooping. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis can improve with rest and relaxation. Treatment with drugs or surgery may be required.
1. You Could Be Suffering from Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are severe, and their cause is unknown. They typically affect the trigeminal nerve and can cause debilitating pain. Cluster headaches may also result in physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, and tearing of the eyes. Because cluster headaches affect nerves, they can also cause eyelids to droop.
We may take for granted that the aches and pains of the body are just another sign of aging. However, we should also be aware that these can be symptoms of a more serious issue. When you spot something worrisome, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional.Related: 10 Foods That May Improve Eye Health and Prevent Glaucoma