Advice about the Eyelids

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Droopy Eyelids - options?

Nov 2010

I'd like to find out what my options are for droopy eyelids. My eyes (my once best features)have begun to look unattractive due to the space between my eyebrows and eyelids drooping. It's almost like there is too much skin there now and it hangs over the eyelids so that the eyelids themselves cannot be seen. I'd like to take care of it. Please let me know if there is a secret to solving this problem. Thank you

My grandmother got the eye lift surgery and insurance covered this because as time goes on it is an impediment to vision. Good luck! Kari Eye Opener!

i have a droopy eyelid and have been diagnosed with ptosis. it's not so bad but will get worse over time. my dr. said the only option would be to get a eye lift in the future. so surgery will probably be the best option for you. i have not done it but probably will in the future since i do not want to have uneven eyes. Jen

My mother had eye-lift (i.e. plastic) surgery. She is pleased with the results. --anon

The only real remedy is a bilateral upper blepharoplasty. If you have coverage with Kaiser, ask for a referral to the exquisitely talented and experienced Dr. Delyse Williams at the Oakland opthamology clinic. If she'll take you (her waiting list is months long), you'll pay practically nothing for a procedure that costs thousands of dollars from private practitioners. Be aware that recovery after surgery involves several weeks of hiding out under dark glasses and floppy hat, as the facial bruising is quite severe and recedes only gradually over one to two to three months. But the results are dramatic and so worthwhile! I am so glad I suffered through the (not that bad) ordeal and am so grateful for Kaiser. Good luck. Bright Eyes

plastic surgery. anon

I am responding to your post b/c I am watching my once beautiful eyes do the same thing. I remember being years ago told that my eyes shined and were magical... but I digress. Unfortunately the eyelid droop has to do with what happens when we age, what our genetics are and we have no say in it. There is no magic cream/lotion/crystal rubbing to make it go away without surgery. *sigh*... I'm just waiting until the droop stares back so blatantly that I can no longer ignore it... then surgery it will be. -- Droopy dawg eyes too!

This runs in families - as you get older your eyelids start to droop because of gravity and stretchier skin and fat. It can actually interfere with your vision in some cases - my sister lost about 40% of her vision due to droopy eyelids. The only way to fix this is an eye lift which is called Blepharoplasty. Your insurance might pay for it if your vision is hampered. My sister just lives with it so you don't have to get surgery. But don't waste your money on eye creams - they might make your skin look and feel better but they are not going to shrink skin or dissolve fat. anon

We all develop extra skin as we begin to get older, and the sagging skin on the forehead and eyelids causes bunching of the upper eyelid skin. Often there is also puffiness from bulging fat in the lids. While Botox can help with wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows, or in the crow's feet, only surgery can treat the eyelid problem. Most people can get dramatic improvement from removal of extra skin and perhaps fat, leaving a fine scar in the upper lid crease. Some people may ''need'' a lift of the brows, either by itself or along with an eyelid lift, to give them the well-rested and younger appearance they are looking for. Fortunately, the body is very good at adapting to protect vision, so, except for a few people whose eyelid muscles pull away from their lid attachments and let the lid fall over the pupil, what you describe is only an appearance problem. Michael C., Plastic Surgeon

My right eyelid droops

Jan 2010

Most of you are too young to worry about this, but maybe you have some knowledge because one of your parents has this problem! My right eyelid droops and has for many years, but it's becoming more and more noticeable. It droops over my pupil, and I'm slightly aware of that, but my vision really isn't affected. I assume I'll need minor surgery soon to correct the problem. Anyone have any advice? Thanks. no, I'm not winking at you! If you are a Kaiser member, you can have a blepharoplasty as a covered out-patient procedure. In Oakland, Dr. Williams has done literally thousands! My eyes were opened

Several years ago, my eyelids were drooping, one side a lot more than the other. I had an upper and lower eyelift, from an experienced doctor. About a year afterwards, the droopiest eyelid started drooping again. I was disappointed but I just attributed it to my particular anatomy and didn't want to be one of those people that expects perfection. I didn't go back to the doctor, since I don't want him working on me again trying to correct it . Then one day I was at an eye doctor's office and I mentioned how I had gotten my eyes done and it was a little disappointing that I still had a problem. She said it was because I had ptosis of the eyelid and that was the problem causing the one eyelid to droop more. Shock. Recently I researched a plastic surgeon with extensive ptosis work on his website, and went in for a consult. He says the problem isn't bad enough where he can correct it - yet. So now I have to wait for it to get really bad before I can get it done and I'm definitely not letting it get to the point where my insurance would pay for it (interfering with vision).

So, make sure you go to a doctor absolutely familiar with ptosis. Dr. Silkiss of Oakland, and several other locations diagnosed the ptosis; Dr. Mabrie of San Francisco & Pinole does excellent ptosis work, to my eye anyway (no pun intended). I would hate for you to fall victim to the same mistake that my original doctor made in not diagnosing ptosis. I could have done the surgery at the same time that I did the blepharoplasties. Now I'm going to have to have a separate operation, with downtime, dangers of surgery, cost, etc. $5,000 and still wonky

Please check with your doctor and ask if the eyelid droop could be a symptom of any disease just to eliminate this possibility. It probably is not connected to anything like this, but it was the case with someone close to me. anonymous

I'm a plastic surgeon in Oakland. A progressively drooping eyelid is a sign of a problem with the muscle that lifts the lid up. Most people with this end up walking around with their eyebrow lifted (unconsciously) to try to keep their vision. It won't go away without surgery, which is done as an outpatient and should be covered by your insurance. Depending on the problem, it may not be able to be made perfect. Michael C.

You may have a mild case of Bells palsey , I have been dealing with the same eye issue. I find doing eye & face exercises. Like looking from right to left. slowly for a few minutes each day is one that seems to help. also opening my eyes wide and then closing them in the same fashion. face massage also is helpful. You can find moe info on google as well Good luck sharyl

Xanthelasma (yellowish bumps on eyelids)

Dec 2009

Does anyone have experience with the yellowish bumps on the eyelids called Xanthelasma? I know they are caused by high cholesterol, and I am working on lowering it, but I am not sure if that will make them disappear. Has anyone had them removed or know of any natural treatments for them? Thanks so much! Dalila

I had my Xanthelasma removed. The dermitologist essentialy burns them off. They haven't disappeared completely, but are much reduced and I'm very glad I did it. There was no pain associated with the treatment, you do have to keep them tended to (ointment) for a couple of weeks. She had told me that I would look bad, so I only did one eye at a time. However, I'd do both together (cheaper) if I had it to do it again. anon

Itchy eyelid

Nov 2008

For several months I have had a very bad itch on my left eyelid. I haven't changed anything in terms of products or makeup. I use cetaphil to cleanse my face. I stopped using sunscreen because I was worried that was causing it, but it hasn't helped. I also tried not wearing makeup for a few weeks, but that also didn't help. The doctor and dermatologist both prescribed creams that didn't help. I am now being referred to an allergy specialist. Has anybody had a strange itch like this (only one eyelid)? I can't seem to figure out what might cause this, and what to do about it. Itchy Eye

Have you been to an eye doctor? You don't say if you have any lesions on your skin or other signs of this issue save the itch. I would highly recommend going to an eye doctor--using creams that close to your eyes can be problematic, and there are alternatives that an eye doctor would be better prepared to offer. Plus, eye doctors have slit lamps which allow them to look at your lids at much higher magnification, and that may be what's needed to diagnose you properly. One possibility, believe it or not, is lice of the eye lashes. They are VERY difficult to see with high magnification, and impossible to see without. eye doc

Itchy, red and puffy eyelids

April 2008

Hi, I recently returned from Hawaii and since then have experienced a weird condition on my upper eyelids- itchy, red, sensitive and puffy, and oh dry skin. I wonder if anyone would either recommend an appropriate professional or share any insight into/experience with this condition. Thanks! M.

That sounds exactly like a reaction I've had to various substances in eye makeup and cleanser. In particular, that happened to my eyelids once when I used a cleanser that contained mineral oil (for waterproof mascara), and once when I used an eyeshadow that contained silica (for a bit of sparkle). I also had a similar (though not as serious) reaction to a scented lotion. I have very sensitive skin, and simply have to keep a close eye on the products I use. Have you recently switched eye makeup, cleanser, or moisturizer -- or tried something new? If so, eliminate the new product, use a bit of hydrocortisone to reduce the swelling and itch, and see if it goes away. If so, that's probably your answer. Karen

ok don't freak out but my neighbor kid went to Hawaii in June for graduation and came back with a puffy funky lid like yours - something from the coral in the water or something - the dr. in hawaii was dismissive, but the dr. here said it was some kind of infection and he had to get antibiotics - his eye de-puffed and scabbed over and looked horrible but he has all of his vision - please go to your doctor NOW. NOW. neighborly

Hi, Hopefully by now your eyelids are feeling better. While in HI were you using sunscreen on your eyelids? Do you have sensitive skin in general? I have sensitive skin and several years ago, I had a similar problem with my eyelids (though the skin didn't dry out). By process of elimination, and in talking to others, I deduced it was a reaction to the PABA in the sunscreen I was using. You might check the bottle you used and see if it contains PABA. Good luck! Caryn

First, I'd say go to a doctor. If they can't help you, here's some advice. I had a similar problem when I returned from Mexico. The eye doctor had no suggestions. I think it didn't look so bad to him, but I knew that my eyelids had looked a lot healthier before my trip. After much research and advice from MD friends, I hypothesized that it could be (don't freak out....) eyelash mites. I think I picked them up from using greasy sunscreen on my eyelids, and sweating a lot. Everyone has eyelash mites, but they only cause problems when they multiply. Oily conditions can cause them to multiply. It also could have been a bacterial infection, but the same treatment would work either way. This is it: stop using any lotion or sunscreen on your eyelids until the condition clears up. Wear sunglasses instead of using sunscreen. Every morning and night, scrub your eyelids at the base of your eyelashes with a washcloth, warm water, and a mild cleanser made of 1/2 baby shampoo and 1/2 water. Scrub for longer than you would think was right for eyelids. They can take a lot more scrubbing and cleaning than I ever imagined. Go back and forth 15 times on each lid, top and bottom. Rinse really well with warm water. The idea is to destroy the habitat of the mites. After a week or so, my eyes started to look better, and they just kept on looking better and better until they were back to normal. I've kept up the eyelid cleaning as part of my regular hygeine and they keep on looking good. At first I used generic baby shampoo from Walgreens, which was fine, but then I found an unscented kind-California Baby brand--at Whole Foods. It's expensive, but as an eyelid wash one bottle will probably last a year, so I'm using that brand now. I think Berkeley Bowl and Rainbow Grocery sell it too. Now that my lids are better, I sometimes use opthalmic-grade vaseline or unscented sunscreen on my eyelids, but I still scrub them twice a day. Good Luck

The moisture content on the islands sometimes causes yeasts to grow on skin. Try oregano oil. Burns for a little while after application. Clears up within a few days.