Most people experience heavy eyelids at some point in their lives, often due to a lack of sleep or environmental factors such as allergens. In these cases, heavy eyelids are temporary and will pass on their own. However, for some, the condition is chronic and can impair eyesight, trigger feelings of exhaustion, and cause insecurity.
The causes of heavy eyelids are usually not serious. The majority of the time, drooping eyelids are caused by benign conditions, genetics, or aging. Home remedies can often address the issue, but some people opt for aesthetic medicine or cosmetic surgery if their drooping eyelids are severe.
Below, we will explore some common causes of heavy eyelids as well as treatment options.
Underlying Medical Conditions
Two medical conditions that commonly cause chronic heavy eyelids are ptosis and dermatochalasis.
Ptosis is a condition in which your upper eyelid has difficulty opening completely. Ptosis is not typically a serious medical condition, but can sometimes impair vision. In rare cases, ptosis can be a sign of an underlying muscle disease or neurological disorder, so see a doctor if you notice other symptoms like memory loss, shakiness, or muscle spasms.
Dermatochalasis refers to excess skin around the eyelid. While it can occur in younger people, it is usually exacerbated by aging and is more common in individuals over the age of 50.
As you age, your skin loses elasticity. This can cause wrinkles, fine lines, droopy jowls, and also heavy eyelids.
Lifestyle factors – like frequent sun exposure, smoking, or excessive eye rubbing – can worsen the effects of aging. Maintaining a solid skin care regimen throughout your life can offset the impact aging has on your skin.
Ptosis that is present from birth is often due to genetics. However, ptosis is not the only genetic cause of droopy eyelids.
Sagging skin in general can be an inherited trait. If your parents or grandparents had droopy eyelids, you are at a heightened risk of developing them yourself.
Treatment For Heavy Eyelids
For minor cases of drooping eyelids, medical intervention may not be necessary. Symptoms can improve significantly with at-home treatment, but it is always a good idea to consult with a professional before attempting treatment on your own.
Over-the-counter eyedrops may resolve drooping caused by dry eyes or allergies. Some patients find success with more natural treatments. As black tea has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, placing a lukewarm tea bag on your closed eyelids for 10 minutes at a time may help. (As a precaution, avoid home remedies that recommend the use of essential oils, which can damage the eyes and skin if improperly diluted.)
For chronic droopy eyelids, some individuals find eyelid exercises help. These involve concentrated movements of the eye such as raising your eyebrows for prolonged periods or quick blinking.
As heavy eyelids are often the result of a sagging skin, a good skincare routine can help. Products containing collagen and hyaluronic acid can improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles and sagging. Always use caution when applying any skincare products near your eyes.
Botox and Dermal Fillers
Both botox and dermal fillers are non-invasive treatment options that can smooth skin and correct a variety of issues including heavy eyelids.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals that contract the facial muscles. This paralyzes the muscles, which can result in smoother skin and less defined wrinkles. In some cases, a practitioner may recommend Botox as a treatment option for drooping eyelids.
Dermal fillers are substances injected into the skin that can add volume while stimulating the production of proteins such as collagen. Dermal fillers often improve skin elasticity. Two types of fillers – Juvéderm and Restylane – are sometimes used to improve drooping eyelids. A consultation with a professional can help you determine a treatment route suitable for your specific needs.
Cosmetic surgery can correct heavy eyelids, especially when they are related to an underlying medical condition. While surgery comes with a longer recovery time than less invasive treatments, the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks if heavy eyelids cause vision impairment or severe discomfort.
Blepharoplasty is the most common surgical option for addressing heavy eyelids. It removes overhanging skin and fat from the upper and lower lids.
A brow lift is a common procedure that raises sagging brows while reducing frown lines between the eyebrows. While not used as often as a blepharoplasty, it sometimes helps correct eyelid drooping as well.
As with dermal fillers, the best way to determine the right course of action is to book a consultation with a reputable surgeon to discuss your options.
Causes Of Heavy Eyelids: The Bottom Line
While heavy eyelids can sometimes be an indication of a serious medical issue, in most cases the causes are benign. Genetics, aging, and minor medical conditions can all contribute to excessive skin around the eyelids that causes drooping. Heavy eyelids can still be debilitating, however, especially when they cause issues like vision impairment.
There are a variety of treatment options that can improve heavy eyelids. If you are interested in pursuing treatment, feel free to reach out here and someone will be in touch shortly to talk over your options.