Eyelid Ptosis Surgery

Latest update: February 27, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Eyelid ptosis is when eyes appear droopy and sleepy due to a weakened muscle in the upper eyelid. Ptosis repair surgery can correct this condition by tightening the affected muscles.

Upper eyelid ptosis is most common in older adults as natural aging causes sagging skin and weakened muscles. Other causes of ptosis include physical trauma, medical conditions, or genetics. In rare cases, the device that keeps the eye open during the LASIK procedure can also over-stretch the muscles.

Ptosis surgery can improve a patient's vision. It can also create a younger and more youthful appearance in older candidates.

Typical ptosis surgery can take 45-90 minutes. Depending on the cause of the condition, the surgeon chooses a technique to correct the issue. 

There are three main methods: levator advancement, internal approach and frontalis sling.

Levator advancement requires local anesthetic together with oral sedation. This technique targets the outer skin and muscle of the eyelid. Surgeons make an incision on the eyelid crease where scarring is minimal. They reattach the levator muscle to the connective tissue to tighten it before stitching up the incision.

The internal approach uses local anesthetic with sedation or general anesthetic. This method turns the eyelid inside out to shorten and strengthen the Mueller's muscle.

The frontalis sling technique requires general anesthetic. 
During this method, surgeons use a silicone rod. They pass this rod under the skin from the levator to the frontalis muscle, which resides at the forehead. When connected, the forehead muscle will then pull the eyelids upwards to open up the eyes. 

Recovery for ptosis surgery will take 7-10 days. During this period, patients will experience swollen and bruised eyes and blurred vision. 

They should avoid wearing contact lenses or makeup and rubbing their eyes. Prescribed eye drops and ointments can keep the eye moist and prevent the possibility of infections. Patients have to attend a follow-up appointment to clean their eyes and remove the sutures. Full recovery takes 1-3 months. As with most invasive procedures, ptosis surgery comes with some risks. These include a scratched cornea, hematoma, infection and over or under correction.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
1 week

How is ptosis repair surgery done in children?

This video from the American Academy of Ophthalmology uses animations to explain how different surgeries help to repair Ptosis. The narrator runs through the different techniques. The goals are explained. The video shows how the body will adapt to the changes made.

Different Types of Eyelid Ptosis, Surgical Correction Techniques, and Expected Healing Time

In this video, Dr. Amiya Prasad answers questions on Eyelid Ptosis. Dr. Prasad explains the condition and the different types of Ptosis. He discusses the healing process and talks about how he evaluates his patients. He explains who normally performs the surgery and talks about the strategy of the surgery.