Can this lazy eye be fixed? What are the risks? (Photo)

I have had this problem my whole life. I'm 42 and have always just lived with it. I avoid pictures and rarely look people in the eye. I went to an optometry appointment with my daughter recently and the optometrist, while talking to me about my daughter, said "you know they have surgery for your droopy eyelid". I've been thinking about it since. Is this something that can be fixed? Could the problem be made worse?

Doctor Answers 7

Yes, it can be fixed

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Hello millyjhud,

Your photo shows moderate to severe upper eyelid ptosis of BOTH eyes, though your left eye looks a bit more severe than your right.  Although not all, many surgeons that are in other specialties (like otolaryngology, facial plastic surgery and plastic surgery) can and do perform the operation to repair this condition.  In my training and practice this is a frequent occurrence.  It is very common for patients who have had this condition since birth to have it in both eyes, but only really notice the more severe one.  What can happen is the worse eye is corrected and then the better eye has noticeable droop.  As a general rule, when you are looking forward, relaxed, the edge of your upper eyelid should right at the edge of your iris.  Both of your eyelids appear to be a fairly good distance past that edge in the photo.

There are other non-surgically treated conditions that can cause this as well.  For this reason, a comple history and examination are necessary.  During that time, the risks should be discussed in detail and any additional testing ordered.

In severe cases, insurance will cover this operation.

I wish you well and hope my response helps!


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Hello and thank you for sharing your concerns. It seems as though you have severe eyelid ptosis. I recommend consulting with an experienced oculoplastic surgeon for an in-person evaluation. I wish you the best of luck!

Ptosis surgery

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If you've had this for your entire life vs. more recently in life the surgery/treatment is somewhat different in those two scenarios.  Dr. Kenneth D. Steinsapir is correct.  You should see an experienced Oculoplastic surgeon before proceeding with any surgery but there is treatment.

Chase Lay, MD

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

This is not "lazy" eye. This is upper eyelid ptosis.

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Consultation with a fellowship trained oculoplastic surgeon is needed to determine what resources you have for repair of the ptosis.  You upper eyelid ptosis appears to be severe enough that it might be covered by health insurance.  Ask the office you are planning to see if they take your health insurance.  If you are in an HMO, ask your primary care physician for the appropriate referral in your system.  My free ebook on eyelid surgery cited below has more information on eyelid surgery.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


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YOu have ptosis of the upper lids, worse on the left.  You can fix this surgically.  See an oculoplastic surgeon who can evaluate your eyelid muscles and determine what surgery would be best for you.   

Congenital ptosis

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From your picture, it appears you have bilateral ptosis (drooping), worse on the left side. If present since birth, the cause of this drooping is poor development of a muscle in your eyelid. There is surgery to raise up the eyelid but what exact technique will help depends largely on how severe your ptosis is and how well (or poorly) the eyelid muscle works. Surgery could certainly make things worse or introduce new problems for you. Adults generally tolerate ptosis surgery less well than children. Make sure to see an oculoplastic surgeon who is experienced in ptosis surgery. Consider two opinions. Good luck!

Katherine Zamecki, MD, FACS
Danbury Oculoplastic Surgeon

Eyelid ptosis or droopy eyelid

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You have eyelid ptosis which means the eyelid sits in a low position.  This can usually be fixed with a surgery that shortens the eyelid lifting muscle tendon.  The first step is for you to see an eyelid surgery specialist who can evaluate you for this procedure.  

Brett S. Kotlus, MD, MS
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 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.