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What Is Eyelid Ptosis?

Ptosis is the medical term for a drooping upper eyelid. This problem affects approximately 5 percent of the population and can affect vision and appearance. The prevalence of this condition increases in the elderly.

What Causes Droopy Eyelids?

Eyelid ptosis can occur from many causes. The most common cause is aging, when the attachments of the eyelid lifting muscle weaken with advancing age.


The muscle works, but its tendon does not have the same lifting ability and hence the eyelid droops. Some patients are born with a congenital defect in the muscle also causing ptosis.

Risk Factors of Upper Eyelid Ptosis

Risk factors for the development of eyelid ptosis include trauma, contact lens wear, and some neurological conditions such as myasthenia gravis. In addition, with aging, excess skin and bags around the eyes can also develop, leading to the tired, sleepy look.

The condition can be either unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides). When the drooping is mild, it may be barely noticeable and not impair vision. When severe, the upper eyelid can encroach upon the pupil, causing loss of peripheral vision (side vision). The central visual acuity, the vision necessary for reading an eye chart, is usually not impaired.

Dr. Fante performs a special test, a visual field test to determine if the eyelid ptosis is affecting vision. In some cases, where there is vision obstruction, medical insurance may cover some or all of the costs for surgery. Some patients may also elect to have the surgery for cosmetic reasons. Children with ptosis usually need to have the eyelid(s) repaired to permit normal visual development, and for them, surgery is never cosmetic.

How Experienced is Dr. Fante in Eyelid Ptosis Repair?

Dr. Fante has tremendous experience in all facets of oculofacial plastic surgery and been in practice for over 20 years  He is involved in the educational community and is well aware of the latest technologies. He is open, honest, and always willing to answer any specific questions in your consultation.

Ptosis Treatment

Surgery can be performed to repair drooping eyelids and restore them to their natural shape and contour. Dr. Fante has performed thousands of ptosis repair operations. The procedure is performed usually under local anesthesia as an outpatient. The surgery is painless, takes less than an hour and patients can usually resume their normal activities in about a week. Dr. Fante operates at many of the surgery centers and hospitals in the Denver metro area. He also operates in Goodland, Kansas.

Will There Be Scars After My Ptosis Repair?

All incisions leave scars. We’re all different when it comes to scarring, and it’s partly determined by our heredity. Some of us form small, faded scars rather easily. Others form larger, more pigmented scars. This is not always easily predictable. However, any prominent scars can be treated by minor follow-up surgery. Dr. Fante makes the incisions as small as possible, and uses natural lines whenever possible so that scars are generally discreet and hidden for the best overall outcome for you.

Ptosis Surgery Recovery

eyelid ptosis repair denver co | upper eyelid surgery boulder Most surgical procedures that are performed in an operating room will cause swelling and bruising and will have sutures that require care for the first week or two. During this period, you’ll be able to see, move about, and accomplish a lot, but you will probably have at least one “black” eye.

We ask our patients to avoid strenuous activities for the first week or two. We also give patients more specific instructions on travel, bathing, and post-op care. Your healing will be dependent on which procedure you are having done, your compliance to pre and post-operative instructions, and your overall health. We will do our very best to make sure that you have all the information you and your caregivers will need to provide the best care possible. We are always here to help and available if any questions or concerns arise.

Most people, depending on their surgery, will return to work in 7 – 14 days. Some more, some less. This is very dependent upon the type of surgery you need, your occupation, and your compliance to post operative instructions.  For some smaller repairs, you might be able to return to work in 2-3 days, particularly if you can work with bruises on your face.

Have a Driver Ready Post-Surgery

You will not need a driver for most office appointments.  However, virtually all surgeries performed in the office, surgery center, or hospital will be accomplished under sedation, and you will not be able to operate a vehicle afterwards. Please plan to have a driver for those occasions.

Cost of Upper Eyelid Surgery

At your consultation, once we know the particulars of your surgery and insurance, we will strive to give you an estimate of the costs of your out of pocket costs.  Please understand that if you are planning to file your surgery with insurance, it is entirely your responsibility to ensure that we are in network for your plan and that if referrals are required for your plan from your PCP, it is up to you to get them to our office. Your procedure will be billed under your medical insurance (not your vision insurance).

As far as your financial responsibility is concerned, this is dependent upon your specific plan, whether or not you have met your deductible, and your co-insurance (if any). We will take care of getting prior-authorization and pre-determination completed before your operation whenever possible.

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about eyelid ptosis and other reconstructive procedures visit our office in Denver, CO! Call (303) 839-1616 today to schedule a consultation with top plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Fante.