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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



4 factors that increase the risk of drooping eyelids

August 5, 2014, 1:24 am

drooping-eyelid-risk-factorsOne of the unfortunate side effects of aging is that the eyelids sometimes begin to droop. It may be minor today but severe later, or perhaps you are already suffering from upper lids that sag so much that it looks like you have your eyes closed in every photograph. You might even be suffering a bit from diminished vision due to the excess drooping. Or, perhaps your eyelids don’t appear to be sagging, but instead they are puffy and appear inflamed — which over time, can cause sagging. Whether you are already suffering from such effects or are concerned about developing sagging eyelids as you age, there are four key factors that increase the risk of drooping eyelids.

1. Your BMI is on the high side

While there are many factors used to determine a healthy weight and body size, a high BMI, or body mass index, may put you at greater risk for developing drooping or sagging eyelids. BMI is the ratio of body fat to height and weight, and categorizes patients as underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and morbidly obese. In patients with a higher BMI, fat deposits may accumulate under the skin of the eyelids, causing the lids to appear to sag, droop, or be puffy. Over time, the effects of gravity and the normal aging process cause fat to pull down on the eyelids in general, but the effect may be pronounced in those that are overweight.

2. You have a light skin tone

Although anyone may develop drooping eyelids, patients with lighter skin tones appear to be at greater risk, possibly due to the effects of UV-radiation from the sun — causing damage to the skin of the eyelids. It is possible that lighter skin has a higher likelihood of suffering ill effects from UV-radiation, and it is a fact that UV-radiation accelerates the aging process. In particular, those with light skin who are more likely to suffer from a sunburn than to achieve a golden tan are likely to experience drooping eyelids.

3. You are male

Unfortunately, men seem to be much more susceptible to drooping eyelids than women, although the reason why is not clear. In fact, men appear to be twice as likely to suffer from drooping eyelids than women.

4. You are aging — aren’t we all?

Aging affects us all, and over time it begins to show on our faces, including our eyelids. As we age, our skin naturally begins to lose its elasticity, and the underlying structures may also stretch or loosen. The effect may be dramatic when this occurs in the eyelids or around the eyes.

Fighting back against sagging eyelids

While you can’t readily avoid two of the four risk factors for drooping eyelids, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. If you are suffering from drooping or sagging eyelids, or hope to avoid them in the first place, practice prevention, and if necessary, seek treatment. Left untreated, sagging eyelids may be simply irritating when it looks like your eyes are closed in every photograph, but over time they may also result in diminished vision due to the inability to open the eyelids completely.

Prevention for sagging eyelids is best practiced by regularly wearing broad spectrum UV-blocking sunglasses with large lenses and preferably wrap-around designs. The combination will block UV-radiation from entering through the lenses as well as from the sides or above the glasses. In addition, wear a wide-brimmed hat to block the sun from beating down on your face and eyelids. If it is too late to prevent drooping eyelids, at least wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to help prevent the condition from worsening.

If your eyelids are already drooping or sagging significantly, you might wish to consider blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery. Although blepharoplasty won’t stop the march of time, it typically results in near permanent improvements in the appearance of the eyelids. Eyelid surgery helps to correct drooping eyelids by removing excess skin and tissue, resulting in eyelids that appear younger and fresh, while also allowing your eyelids to frame your eyes rather than hide them. However, even after eyelid surgery, it is important to continue preventative measure to avoid a recurrence of sagging or drooping.

To learn more about eyelid surgery or prevention of sagging eyelids, call Kansas City Surgical Arts today at (816) 286-4126 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Matt Hlavacek.