Ptosis - has anyone had successful corrective surgery?

(6 Posts)
Frazzlerock Thu 30-Jan-20 11:00:33

I was born with ptosis and it has bothered me my entire life. My left eye is worse than my right eye but they both have it. I was teased at secondary school. I didn't let anyone know it bothered me, but I used to go home and cry. It ruined my self confidence.
When I was about 13 or 14 I eventually had corrective surgery on my left eyelid, but it never really worked and it often opens up when I'm asleep at night and is then quite swollen and sensitive the following day.

I seem to go through stages over the years where it doesn't look quite so bad and my confidence came back in my 20's/30's. Mostly its slightly better if I'm well rested and wear make up to make it look better. But I'm never well rested these days, especially as the past 4 years have been quite traumatic for other reasons.

Now I'm 40 I feel like it's getting worse. I know that age can even cause ptosis, so I imagine it just gets worse with age if you have it already.

I'm so desperate to have it corrected properly but worried that it will make it worse or it just won't work yet again and I will have wasted my time and money.

I hate that when I look up, I look straight into my eyelid. It looks terrible in photos - and I can forget the big eyed selfie - not that I want to do that but the option would be nice. If I ever try that 'look up into the camera with your chin down' business I look ridiculous.
I have always hated looking people in the eyes when speaking to them. Friends have said they don't notice, but I know they must do. Strangers in the past have said I look tired, or stoned, or that I have sultry/'come to bed' eyes which I really don't want and makes me worry people think I'm giving them the come on when I most definitely am not! An old colleague once told me he thought I smoked weed all the time and was going to ask me where I got mine from. I was mortified and really fucking angry that he had the nerve to ask and that people thought that of me - not that I have anything against smoking weed, but it's not my thing and never has been.

Would a second surgery be worth it? I desperately want to look awake and alert and friendly. But I just look unapproachable (been told this) and tired all the time sad

OP’s posts: |
BorneoBabe Fri 31-Jan-20 07:06:30

There are definitely ways to improve it - but your comment about your eye opening up at night makes me think you need a more specialist approach.

I would ask your GP for a referral to Moorfields or your next closest eye hospital. They will give your best options. Stress that it's impacting your vision (looking up you see eyelid, your field of vision is limited, headaches, etc). Make it as medical as possible to justify the referral if needed.

If it's making you unhappy, then you owe it to yourself to at least explore your options. flowers

underneaththeash Fri 31-Jan-20 17:01:02

How well the surgery works depends on which
(a) which muscle is involved and
(b) why its not working properly.

Unless it's covering a significant proportion of your pupil in that eye, it's unlikely that surgery would be done under the NHS, but you could pay for a consultation and a surgical opinion. You need to mention the nighttime eye problems to the surgeon as it's possible that the surgery would make things worse. It's called nocturnal lagopthalmos.

I'd also recommend some night-time drops for that eye, you need something stronger than a regular dry eye drop, with a long action that's gel based. Systane gel drops are quite good, or your pharmacist/optician can recommend another.

Actually having typed that, I've realised that you've not mentioned having an eye examination recently. Dry eye disease (DED) can make a ptosis worse sometimes and can be caused by lots of things, so it's worth getting a full exam to rule out anything else before you think about consulting a surgeon.

Elouera Fri 31-Jan-20 19:34:38

My mum had corrective laser surgery on her eyes years ago. As she was no longer wearing glasses, it became more apparent that she too has ptosis. She only had the 1 surgery, but looked far more awake and younger afterwards.

I realise you've had alot going on in your life, but I'm surprised you haven't cause corneal damage by having your eye open at night whilst sleeping! I would have seen a specialist years ago rather than risk permanent damage! If in the UK, I'd certainly start with your GP and ask for a referral. If not happy, then private might be the only option, but certainly worth trying to get it on the NHS in terms of preventing damage to the eye, rather than as a cosmetic fixture (which they wont cover).

Frazzlerock Sat 01-Feb-20 08:02:59

Thank you so much for your advice.

@BorneoBabe you reminded me that I did actually seek further help about 4/5 years ago. I was referred to Moorfields where they told me there was nothing they could do and that my vision range was fine and that my face was symmetrical 🤔 It's really not! After years of trying to keep my eye open enough the left side of my face has aged far more, in most photos I look like I've had a stroke.
So I will have to go privately

@underneaththeash I used eye drops when I had surgery but stopped using them eventually, or rather fell out of the habit, I don't think unexpected to have to use them every single night for the rest of my life. I thought it was just until my eye got better and started closing properly at night, but it never really did. I will definitely get the eye gel you recommend.
I don't think I have dry eye. I do have regular eye check ups as I am very slightly long sighted and wear glasses for work and reading. Opticians have never mentioned it, do they specifically look for that at general eye exams?

@Elouera that's great to know it worked for your mum. Does she have any continuous problems since the surgery? Do her eyes close normally at night?
I didn't know anything about corneal damage, or I would have had it checked out years ago. I wonder if I go to the GP they will just recommend eye drops. I think I might need to just bite the bullet and pay for privately as I know I'll just be fobbed off on NHS, despite the mental health issues it's caused me all these years.

I think what is really bothering me now is I'm getting married in April and I'm worried I'm going to hate all photos of me. I am going to make sure our photographer only gets my 'good' side but that still doesn't hide it. My make up lady is going to have a challenge too 😥 It's too late to have surgery before, is there anything I can do to improve it a bit for now?

OP’s posts: |
Elouera Sat 01-Feb-20 14:47:07

After my mums surgery, she can close both her eyes normally. Its certainly worth seeing you GP in the 1st instance. Nothing to lose by asking for an ophthalmic referral. If the wait is months, then maybe look into private. When did you last have you eyes checked at a normal optician? They can see corneal damage too.

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