Parents: Drooping Eyelid In Your Child Warrants Attention

Have you noticed that one of your child's eyelids is drooping? What could be causing this condition? Will it go away on its own? A drooping eyelid is caused by a condition called ptosis, and a doctor's visit is indeed important. Causes of this condition vary, so only a doctor can tell you why this is happening and what type of treatment is indicated.

Ptosis: congenital and acquired

There are two kinds of ptosis: congenital and acquired. If your child's drooping eyelid is a recent development, it will be classified as acquired, because congenital ptosis is present at birth. Acquired ptosis usually develops later in life, so it is important to determine why it is happening in your child. The most common cause of ptosis is weakened levator muscles (those responsible for lifting the eyelid), which can be corrected by surgery. However, ptosis can also be due to underlying conditions that warrant extensive medical intervention.

Medical conditions that can cause ptosis

Acquired ptosis can also be caused by serious medical conditions.

  1. Horner syndrome. Damage to the nerve pathway that runs from the brain to one side of the body can result in a drooping eyelid. The result of a stroke, tumor, or spinal cord injury, Horner syndrome is accompanied by decreased pupil size and reduction in sweating on the affected side of the body.

  2. Diabetes. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can affect the functioning of the body's organs, including the eyes. Ptosis may be a sign that your child has developed diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which is the most common type to affect children, requires careful management by a physician.

  3. Myasthenia gravis. This autoimmune disorder, which attacks the muscle system, can cause ptosis. About 90% of people with this disease experience symptoms involving their eyes.

Sudden ptosis

You may have noted the deterioration in your child's eyelid muscles over time, something that developed gradually. However, if ptosis comes on suddenly, it could indicate a stroke. If associated with other stroke symptoms, don't wait for a doctor's appointment. Emergency medical attention is critical.

The treatment for ptosis depends on its cause. Consultation with your child's pediatrician and a pediatric ophthalmologist will yield the best treatment plan for his or her situation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary along with other medical interventions.

Don't assume your child's drooping eyelid is a transient symptom of fatigue or excessive pressure from a sleeping position. Call and make an appointment right away.