One eye with drooping/overhanging eyelid? (photo)

Over the past few years my left eyelid has gotten heavier and heavier, and now there's a really significant difference between the two. Is it possible to have surgery on only one eye so that they are even again?

Doctor Answers 6

The left upper eyelid is normal. The right upper eyelid is retracted.

While it is possible that ptosis can cause a compensatory elevation in the opposite eye, it is not all that common.  What you are demonstrating in this photograph is frank right upper eyelid retraction.  This is not normal.  The most common cause would be thyroid related eye disease (i.d Graves disease).  I recommend seeing a fellowship trained oculoplastic surgeon for a careful assessment of the eyes to get to the bottom of what is going on.  You should also be seen by your primary care physician to be assessed for Grave's disease.  The management of upper eyelid retraction is surgical.

Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

One Eye with drooping/ overhanging eyelid?

Thank you for your question and photo. Yes, it is possible for surgery to be performed on only one eyelid to create symmetry, but what you are demonstrating in this photograph is right upper eyelid retraction and not a 'heavier' left upper lid . The most common cause would be thyroid related eye disease. Before you have any eyelid surgery,  I recommend that you see a fellowship trained Oculoplastic surgeon for evaluation of eyelid and eyebrow function  and also see your primary care physician to be evaluated for hyperthyroidism or  Grave's disease. 
Best wishes

Edward H. Bedrossian, Jr., MD
Philadelphia Oculoplastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Eyelid retraction vs. ptosis with compensation

Hi. Thank you for your question. In your photo it actually looks like your right upper eyelid is retracted (too high). This can sometimes happen when the opposite eyelid is low (ptosis) and the brain tries to compensate. It can also be due to other causes- thyroid eye disease being the most common. You should see an oculoplastic surgeon for an evaluation to determine what is going on. Hope this helps. Best regards, Ira Vidor, M.D.

Ira Vidor, MD
Newport Beach Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Can blepharoplasty be performed on one eyelid

Thank you for sharing your question and photo. Yes, it is common for surgery to be performed on only one eyelid to create symmetry.See an experienced eyelid specialist for comprehensive evaluation and treatment.
Good luck,

James R. Gordon, MD, FACS, FAAO
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

Eyelid surgery can be done on only one eye

Thanks for your question.

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) removes and tightens excess eyelid skin for a more alert, youthful appearance. It can and should be done only on the affected eye, so to answer your question, yes, this procedure can be done on only one of your two eyes. The drooping of the upper eyelid, if present since birth, happens when the edge of the upper eyelid falls from its normal position. In most cases, a drooping upper eyelid results from aging of previously normal structures. Typically, the tendon of the muscle responsible for lifting the eyelid stretches and the eyelid falls. Surgical correction of a drooping upper eyelid involves repairing the stretched tendon. You didn’t’ mention whether the drooping has impaired your vision or if you’re looking for a cosmetic blepharoplasty. To be sure you get the right procedure, please consult with an ophthalmologist, or an oculoplastic surgeon.

Jan Zemplenyi, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Eyelid asymmetry

Possible diagnoses: 1) retraction of the right upper lid (related to thyroid dysfunction), 2) relative ptosis of the left upper lid, 3) brow ptosis - brow positions are low and may contribute to the asymmetry of the lid folds. An Oculoplastic surgeon in your area could help you with recommendations to achieve symmetry - those recommendations would be based on examination and careful measurements of the lid and brow positions. Best wishes.

Sara A. Kaltreider, MD
Charlottesville Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.