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Image of a woman representing how to fix droopy eyelids without surgery

How to fix droopy eyelids without surgery

Drooping of the upper eyelid, or blepharoptosis, is commonly associated with growing older. It mostly affects those over 70, but it can impact people of all ages. Droopy eyelids are often an aesthetic issue but they can also be caused by some medical problems. In severe cases they can lead to problems with vision and other health concerns.

Many people look to fix droopy eyelids without surgery. But what causes the condition and can it be treated non-invasively?

What are droopy eyelids?

Blepharoptosis, also called ptosis or droopy eyelids, occurs when the muscles that connect to the upper eyelid or under the brow become weakened or damaged. Only one of these muscles needs to deteriorate for the condition to develop, which leads to the eyelid looking loose or tired, and drooping lower on the face.

While it’s often a common sign of ageing, there are treatments available. Less commonly, the eyelid can affect vision, leading to difficulty driving or doing day-to-day tasks.

What causes droopy eyelids?

Ageing process

Droopy eyelids are often associated with growing older:

  • The eyelid muscles stretch and deteriorate, which may cause the eyelid to fall downwards.
  • The severity of ptosis varies from person to person, but it is possible to fix droopy eyelids without surgery.


Sometimes our genetics lead to droopy eyelids developing naturally. Ptosis may occur from birth due to muscle defects. When this happens it is referred to as congenital ptosis and may affect one or both eyelids.


Medication for glaucoma may have an effect on your eyelids:

  • Prostaglandin analogues (PGAs), could contribute to droopy eyelids.
  • This is because of the loss of periorbital fat and abnormalities in muscles around the eye. But, in most instances, the condition will resolve itself.

Medical conditions

Strokes, tumours and other more severe conditions can also cause droopy eyelids:

  • Ptosis is a common symptom of Horner’s syndrome. This condition is caused by the nerve pathway’s disruption between the brain, face and eyes.
  • Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disease, which causes muscles to weaken. The muscles around the eyes tend to be first affected.
  • Sudden eyelid drooping could be a sign of a stroke. One or both eyes may droop.
  • In some instances, brain tumours may cause ptosis as a side-effect.
  • Cancers of the nerves and muscles may lead to droopy eyelids, although there will be other symptoms too.

Other health conditions may lead to droopy eyelids, such as:

  • Eye surgery complications.
  • Those who use rigid contact lenses risk damaging the muscles around the eye.

What are the symptoms of droopy eyelids?

While sagging eyelids may have cosmetic implications, the symptoms are uncomfortable but rarely debilitating. They may recede over time, but it’s not guaranteed.

  • Severe ptosis may result in hampered vision. You might hold your head at awkward angles in conversation to see. This can cause neck pain in the long term.
  • You may look tired, and experience aching around the eyes or migraines if the condition is particularly advanced. The latter may indicate other health issues, and should be checked with a medical professional.
  • Those with droopy eyelids may find their eyes become irritated more easily.

How can I treat droopy eyelids without surgery?

There is a growing interest in non-surgical treatment for droopy eyelids. Thankfully, many options exist for droopy eyelids of all severities. Here are some ways to get an eyelid lift without surgery.

Laser skin resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing, or laser therapy, removes layers of skin. This can help by removing skin helps promote the regeneration of new, healthier skin cells. This new skin should be tighter, helping to reduce drooping. But, the procedure may leave noticeable redness and peeling that could last over a week.

Botox injections

Botox injections provide a relatively quick method to resolve the appearance of ptosis. Injecting Botox relaxes the muscles pulling the brow down, so the elevating frontalis muscle in the forehead is allowed a greater pull. This procedure helps reduce frown lines but can also help raise the eyelid. While fast-acting, you’ll need to have touch-up injections every four to six months to maintain the results.


Dermal fillers are injectable skin-plumping solutions designed to fill in wrinkles. Treatment is rapid, with minimal downtime, but fillers require regualr maintenance every six to eighteen months to maintain the results.

Topical creams

Eye creams can sometimes ease the effects of sagging and help to lift skin when used daily but you can’t expect to see any permanent results from using creams alone.

Did you know?

  • The eyelid is the thinnest skin on the body (under 1mm), attached to a muscle responsible for opening and closing the lid.
  • Eyelids spread tears over the front of the eyes to keep them moist. Tears then drain into the inner eyelid and the tear duct, emptying into the nose.
  • It’s OK to flinch. The blink reflex is an involuntary reaction to protect the eye from things touching it. In fact, in a single second, it’s possible to blink five times.


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