Ptosis surgery

Ptosis surgery is an operation to tighten the muscle that lifts your upper eyelid.

Is ptosis surgery suitable for me?

As you get older, the levator muscle that lifts your upper eyelid stretches and weakens, causing the eyelid to sag.

If you have a sagging eyelid that is interfering with your vision, ptosis surgery can be an effective treatment. Ptosis surgery can also be performed to make you look younger if one of your eyelids has begun to sag or there is a difference in the height of your eyelids.

What are the benefits of surgery?

If the operation is successful, the position of your eyelid should improve and your face should look younger. If your eyelid is interfering with your vision, your vision should improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Ptosis surgery is the only effective way to tighten the levator muscle. Ptosis props, fitted to glasses, can keep your eyelid lifted up. However, ptosis props can be awkward to wear and do not treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

Ptosis surgery is usually performed under a local anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between three-quarters of an hour and an hour and a half, depending on whether the operation involves one or both of your upper eyelids.

Your surgeon will usually make a cut in the natural skin crease of your eyelid and will place stitches in the levator muscle to strengthen its attachment to the eyelid.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical wound

2 Specific complications of this operation

  • Over-correction
  • Under-correction
  • Bleeding into your eye socket
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Cosmetic problems

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home a few hours after the operation.

You should avoid getting your eyelid wet and any strenuous activity for the first week. You should not go swimming for four weeks.

You should not have sex for the first two weeks. You should also avoid wearing any eye make-up and drinking alcohol for at least a few weeks, and keep your face out of the sun.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The results of ptosis surgery last for a long time. Your face will still continue to age but your face should always appear younger than if you had not had surgery.


Ptosis surgery involves lifting your eyelid to improve its position and improve your vision. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.

Paying for your procedure

Ptosis surgery costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own procedure the cost will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the procedure. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

Acknowledgements Author: Dr Brian Fleck MD FRCSEd FRCOph Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2010 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Copyright © 2010 Nucleus Medical Art. This information is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Want to look at other treatments? or find it on the A-Z list.