Ptosis Singapore – Is surgery needed?
Short answer: Yes.
A droopy eyelid is medically known as Ptosis. When an individual has a droopy eyelid condition, it could either be classified as a medical condition or a cosmetic problem. The basis for classification depends on the degree or severity of the droopiness.
If you are experiencing eyelid ptosis of any degree, you should see a doctor to get it graded. If left untreated, droopy eyelids can have serious health consequences. Eye ptosis primarily obstructs your vision, as it covers part of the pupil, thus preventing light from entering it and blocking clear vision.
What’s more, it worsens gradually over time. Eye ptosis cannot and will not heal on its own, hence the only solution for it is to seek treatment. This article will explore various treatment options for Ptosis in Singapore.
Don’t leave eye Ptosis untreated
Untreated Ptosis can lead to a myriad of other eye-related health issues, such as ‘lazy eye’ (amblyopia), ‘crossed eye’ (strabismus) and astigmatism.
Individuals might try to naturally compensate for Ptosis by lifting their chin or head higher than their natural resting position, which can cause neck and head issues in the future.
Especially for younger patients, ptosis correction is necessary partly because it is a legitimate medical condition, as well as provides ‘aesthetic’ improvements. Having poor vision affects a child’s learning abilities and can have permanent effects on their growth and development.
If you suspect that you or your child may be experiencing ptosis, go for a health checks or seek a medical opinion. A primary care physician, ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon can help to diagnose this, although the best person to treat it is usually a plastic surgeon for both medical and aesthetic reasons.
Causes of Ptosis in Singapore
The eyelids are held up by a muscle, more specifically known as the levator muscle. The muscle’s functions are equivalent to a rubber band, tightening and relaxing when we open or shut our eyelids.
Ptosis occurs when this muscle is weakened. This is due to several reasons:
Ptosis can be present at birth (Congenital). This means that the individual was born with weak eyelid muscles leading to inadequate development of the levator muscle.
The term aponeurotic refers to the levator muscle being weakened (or in severe cases detached) due to ageing.
This happens when the upper eyelids have too much skin, fat or sometimes due to the presence of a cyst or tumour that causes the upper eyelid to droop.
Occurs when the levator muscle is weakened as a result of injury, accident or over exertion. This is commonly seen in body builders or sportsmen.
The levator muscle is sometimes prevented from functioning normally due to nerve issues. This is more often seen among stroke patients and those suffering from neurological disorders.
Habits such as excessive eye rubbing or pulling of the eyelids can cause the levator muscle be damaged or detached. This is a type of acquired ptosis that is common among contact lens wearers.
Treatment options for Ptosis in Singapore
Treatment for Ptosis often requires surgery. This is an operation done under local anaesthesia, which means that the patient will be sedated and sleeping throughout the procedure.
Typically the surgeon will repair the levator muscle by tightening it. Also depending on the cause of ptosis, excessive skin and fat may be removed from the drooping eyelid(s). The severity or grading of the Ptosis would determine what adjustments are required to be made to the eyelid muscles.
This is more or less a judgement call, and is also the reason why choosing a highly experienced, skilled Ptosis surgeon is of vital importance.
Unfortunately, aside from surgery, there is no other option for ptosis correction. It is a matter of getting the levator muscle repaired, which needs to be done surgically.
Will my eyelid appearance change?
It is common for the plastic surgeon to reposition your eyelid crease (also known as the ‘crease profile’) at the same time, hence you can expect a nice aesthetic improvement.
The good news is, your final eyelid appearance is something you can choose and tailor to your preference. Remember to discuss your desired double eyelid crease profile and whether you prefer it to have a tapered or parallel shape with your plastic surgeon.
How is the severity of Ptosis graded?
The severity of Ptosis is classified in 3 grades measured by the level of droop affecting your vision, also known as the Marginal Reflex Distance (MRD). MRD is the distance between the upper lid margin and light reflex.
The 3 main grades are:
- Mild – 2mm of droop
- Moderate – 3mm of droop
- Severe – 4mm of droop or more.
It is crucial that the anesthetist or doctor treating you is fully informed of any medications you are taking at the time of the ptosis surgery. This is to prevent any negative effects that might arise from the different drugs being introduced into your body, also called contraindications.
What results can I expect?
In most cases, ptosis correction gives a permanent result. For a selected few, additional revisions or enhancements may be required. In either case, the improvements should significantly improve your quality of life.
Depending on the plastic surgeon’s techniques, there may or may not be any scarring. It is recommended to discuss with your plastic surgeon extensively about their technique and their strategy to manage scars. Also be sure to discuss expectations, healing time and pain management.
How much does surgery cost to treat Ptosis in Singapore?
The cost of Ptosis surgery in Singapore is usually insurance claimable or covered by Medisave if it is classified as a medical condition. This means certain health benefits can be enacted in insurance claims, thus reducing a substantial amount, if not all, of the cost.
You will need to take the MRD test to determine if your ptosis can be categorized as a medical condition. Plastic surgeons or opthalmologists are quite capable of running the test for you.
The surgery can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. Variations include the anaeshetist’s fee, operating facility fees, surgical consumables, aftercare medication, reviews, etc.
Strangely, the most common reason why people seek Ptosis correction surgery later in life is that they believe a Ptosis surgery is an ‘aesthetics’ treatment, and are therefore not claimable from insurance companies. Nowadays, Upper Eyelid Ptosis is recognized as a serious medical condition that can cause a deterioration in health if not treated immediately, in both adults and children.
Looking for a recommendation for Ptosis correction? See our list of the best plastic surgeons in Singapore for Ptosis Surgery