Ptosis surgery (adult)
This page will give you information about ptosis surgery. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is ptosis surgery?
Ptosis surgery is an operation to tighten the muscle that lifts your upper eyelid.
As you get older, the levator muscle that lifts your upper eyelid stretches and weakens, causing your eyelid to sag.
If you have a sagging eyelid that is interfering with your vision, ptosis surgery can be an effective treatment to improve your vision.
What are the benefits of surgery?
The position of your eyelid should improve. If your eyelid is interfering with your vision, your vision should improve.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Ptosis surgery is the only effective way to tighten the levator muscle.
Ptosis props, fitted to glasses, can keep your eyelid lifted up but ptosis props can be awkward to wear and do not treat the problem.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a local anaesthetic that is injected in your eyelid and given as local-anaesthetic eye drops. The operation usually takes 45 to 90 minutes, depending on whether the operation involves both of your upper eyelids.
Your surgeon will usually make a cut on the natural skin crease of your eyelid. They will place stitches in the levator muscle to strengthen its attachment to your eyelid and to adjust the height of your eyelid.
How can I prepare myself for the operation?
Keeping in the same position
If the operation is performed under a local anaesthetic, you will need to lie still and flat during the operation. If you cannot lie still and flat, let your surgeon know.
If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.
Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.
Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
If you have not had the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine, you may be at an increased risk of serious illness related to Covid-19 while you recover. Speak to your doctor or healthcare team if you would like to have the vaccine.
What complications can happen?
General complications of any operation
- infection of the surgical site
- allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
- chest infection
Specific complications of this operation
- over-correction, where your eyelid is lifted too high
- under-correction, where your eyelid is not lifted enough
- bleeding into your eye socket
- cornea abrasion
- cosmetic problems
Consequences of this procedure
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home after a few hours.
Do not get your eyelid wet, do strenuous exercise or bend down until the stitches are removed.
Do not wear eye make-up or drink alcohol for a few weeks, and keep your face out of the sun.
Do not swim for 4 weeks.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
The results of ptosis surgery last for a long time.
Ptosis surgery involves lifting your eyelid to improve its position and improve your vision.IMPORTANT INFORMATION
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Last reviewed: September 2022