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Types of Ptosis

There are two main types of ptosis–congenital ptosis and acquired ptosis (also referred to as senile ptosis). The two types of ptosis are not mutually exclusive of the other. The spectrum of the type of ptosis a patient can have can range from borderline to severe or in some cases a combination of the two. A skilled surgeon must be able to distinguish such differences in order to correctly diagnose patients and determine the most suitable surgical technique for the ptosis correction.


Congenital ptosis is due to an intrinsic muscle disorder. This disorder results in cellular degeneration and fat infiltration of the eye muscle responsible for raising the eyelid.

The severity of this disorder can range from the eye(s) being significantly shut to having to lift one’s brows in order to keep the eye(s) open. Ptosis can be hereditary, as patients can be born with the condition. Treatment is especially important for infants as it causes loss of vision, which leads to impaired brain development. Adolescents that develop this disorder will begin to appear sleepy. Many times young ptosis patients will lift their brows as a way to raise their eyelids. This strains the forehead muscle, and eventually the patients will become tired of the continuous strain of lifting their brows. Some patients will accept their conditions and live with smaller, droopier eyes, while some patients seek treatments. Congenital ptosis is a progressive disease and even after correction surgery, revision corrections are likely to follow.


Acquired ptosis typically develops in elderly adults, but there have been cases where it has developed in patients even in their early 30s.

Many of these patients begin to notice a decrease in the size of their eyes mainly due to drooping eyelids. Unlike congenital ptosis, acquired ptosis can be due to severe tearing and stretching of the levator muscle.