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ptosis: The Alex

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What is Ptosis?

Ptosis (pronounced ‘toe sis’) is the medical term for the drooping / falling of the upper eyelid. It can happen in one or both eyes.

Ptosis can interfere with vision, depending on how low the eyelid is. It can cause your child to change their head position or raise their eyebrows to try and reduce the impact of the ptosis on their vision. This can lead to head and neck discomfort. Ptosis can also cause cosmetic concerns.

Ptosis corrective operation

An operation is needed to correct your child’s ptosis. There are different surgical techniques depending on the type and severity of the ptosis. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and your child will be asleep.

After the operation

Usually there will be a pad over your child’s eye(s) which is to be kept in place for 12 to 24 hours, this helps to reduce swelling. There is likely to be bruising and swelling to the eyelid and surrounding area and there may also be stitches visible on the eyelid.

Your child will have been given pain relief during the operation and will be able to have more on the ward if they are in pain when they wake up. Most children are able to go home on the same day as their operation.


  • Don’t let your child go swimming, do ‘messy play’ (e.g. with sand) or wear make up for 2 weeks (longer if the area remains red).
  • Try not to let your child knock or rub their eye(s).
  • Keep the area relatively dry for 2 to 10 days. Shower / bath as normal but dry the eyelid with a clean cotton pad after.

Pain relief

It is important to give your child regular, simple pain medicine such as paracetamol and ibuprofen during the first 48 / 72 hours.

Paracetamol can be given again at:

Ibuprofen can be given again at:

Follow up / concerns and queries

The consultant will see you again in a couple of weeks. You will receive this appointment in the post.

Should you have any concerns or queries when you get home, please phone 01273 696955 and ask for the appropriate department.

Level 7 Day Case extension 62382: Mon / Fri 7:30 to 19:30

Pickford Ward extension 64881: 24 hours

Eye hospital A&E extension 63852: Mon / Fri 9:00 to 17:00

Orthoptics extension 64872: Mon / Fri 9:00 to 17:00


The official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Our aim is to provide information that will help you understand your child’s injury and enable the appropriate after care.

There are lots of useful injury leaflets to download at the Royal Alexandra website.

Useful numbers:

NHS 111: 24hr advice line

Practice Plus (Brighton walk-in Centre): 0333 321 0946

Practice Plus GP: 0300 130 3333 8am / 8pm  7 days a week.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: November 2021

Review Date: August 2024

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