Congenital Ptosis in Babies – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

5 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Congenital Ptosis in Babies

People usually think eye problems come with age. But several research studies prove even newborns can have eye problems. Babies can develop serious illnesses in the optical area for a variety of reasons, such as infection, congenital eye problems, or others. Congenital Ptosis in babies is one of those issues a newborn can develop after birth.

Since most new parents are unaware of such situations, this article will explain A-To-Z about Congenital Ptosis in babies, its causes, care, and treatment.

In This Article

What is Congenital Ptosis(Droopy Eyelids) in Babies?

Congenital Ptosis or droopy eyelids is a common problem in newborn babies as well as adults when one or both eyelids start to droop. In the case of newborn babies, both or a single eyelid does not develop in this condition. If the case turns more alarming, you may need to consult the doctor for surgery. It’s undeniably a serious and non-negligible condition in babies. Leaving this condition untreated can cause a lazy eye later in the baby’s life.

Possible Causes of Droopy Eyelids in Babies

Congenital Ptosis

Drooping eyelid or Ptosis can cause a severe condition for an infant. This issue can emerge from the weakness of the muscles responsible for strengthening the eyelids and raising them. It is also caused by the damage to the muscle controlling nerves or eventually loose skin on the upper eyelid section. It feels like the upper eyelids are hanging on the lower eyelids.

Due to a congenital abnormality since birth time, newborn babies develop Ptosis condition. However, in some cases, this condition may appear later due to an injury or disease. If the Ptosis is present from birth, it’s called Congenital Ptosis.

Although Congenital Ptosis is an isolated illness, an infant may suffer from the following issues due to Congenital Ptosis:

  • Eyelid tumors
  • Eye movement abnormalities
  • Neurological disorders
  • Muscular diseases
  • Poor vision and refractive errors, such as short or long-sightedness

Signs and Symptoms of Congenital Ptosis in Babies

Congenital Ptosis can lead to lazy eye movement for a child later in the future. The affected baby needs treatment as soon as possible. However, some parents are unaware of this condition, and due to less information, they cannot take their child for better treatment. It’s one of the most severe cases in newborn babies, and only doctor consultation is advisable.

Since new parents usually cannot recognize Congenital Ptosis in babies, they feel helpless when the condition gets more threatening. So, to prevent any unfortunate circumstance, here are some signs and symptoms to recognize Congenital Ptosis in babies.

The following are some most noticeable signs of Ptosis in infants to help you identify the drooping lid.

  • Increased level of tearing or watery eyes
  • Dropping of single or both eyelids
  • Interrupted vision if the case is severe Congenital Ptosis.

Infants with Congenital Ptosis often tilt their heads back to the position where they lift the chin to see through underneath their eyelids. So, if you notice something mentioned or see the baby trying to raise his eyebrows to lift his eyelids to see, it’s perhaps high time to visit a doctor. Otherwise, these unnatural head functions may cause disfigurements in the back and head portion throughout the years.

[Read : Watery Eyes (Epiphora) in Babies]

Diagnosis of Congenital Ptosis in Babies

Visual field testing

You must visit the healthcare provider as soon as possible when you notice something wrong (as mentioned before). The professionals will conduct a few physical examinations of your baby to determine whether it’s Congenital Ptosis or otherwise. There are several procedures the health care provider usually follows to determine the seriousness of the case and its underlying causes.

Your child’s physician may do some basic tests, including:

  • Ocular motility (eye movement) test
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Visual field testing

However, the doctor may suggest conducting other vital tests in addition to these to diagnose the severity of the disease that can cause Congenital Ptosis.

Treatment For Ptosis in Babies


Whether the baby is born with mild or severe action of Congenital Ptosis in babies, treatment is necessary for both cases. The treatment at a proper time will help the baby develop ordinary vision capacity. If the disease condition fails to get corrected with the utmost care, another severe condition called ‘amblyopia,’ which is a lazy eye condition, may develop.

To give you a short brief, Amblyopia is a condition where babies develop poor eyesight. However, the issue does not occur right from birth or in early childhood. It generally appears when you don’t treat Congenital Ptosis diseases on time. Besides, Amblyopia is the leading reason for poor vision permanently.

The ultimate treatment for Congenital Ptosis is usually surgery. However, several cases can get cured with prescribed medications. Your child’s ophthalmologist will assist you throughout the procedure and assess your infant to determine if the surgery is vital or not based on the following factors:

  • The child’s age
  • The eyelid height measurements
  • Whether both of the eyelids are affected
  • The strength for lifting and closing the eyelid muscles
  • The eye movement observation.

During surgery, the levators, a muscle that lifts the eyelids, get compressed.

If the Congenital Ptosis is serious, the levator becomes extremely weak. It causes eyelid attachment or suspension from under the eyebrow. So, the muscles on the forehead section can lift.

Although the surgery can repair the drooping eyelid tissue, the surgery can wait until the child’s age is 3 to 4 years. Once the baby grows a little older, the surgery can be done. Yet, surgery is vital in the case of severe conditions to prevent lazy eye problems.

[Read : Squint and Amblyopia in Babies]

Surgical Correction of Congenital Ptosis

Correction through surgery is the most difficult yet challenging operation that generally ophthalmologists face. Multiple surgical alternatives are available, such as Whitnall sling, Mullerectomy, frontalis sling, frontalis muscle flap, and levator advancement.

So, the selection of the surgery procedure or type gets decided upon various factors like the experience of the surgeon, severity of Congenital Ptosis in the baby, the baby’s age, and degree of levator muscle function. Due to several complications involved with this process, complete correction may or may not be possible.

Parents must support the child throughout the process, from diagnosis to surgery. Be it an adult or a newborn – the patient requires the highest level of care and support from the close one. However, it’s better to diagnose Congenital Ptosis in babies in the initial stage to prevent any unfortunate circumstances in the future. If the treatment is on time, the chance of recovery improve greatly.


1. Can Congenital Ptosis be Corrected in Babies?

Proper surgery can correct Congenital Ptosis in babies, including conjunctival approach and skin approach for levator resection, eyebrow suspension of the eyelids, and the Fasanella-Servat procedure.

2. Is Congenital Ptosis a Common Disease in Babies?

Congenital Ptosis is something that is not common in babies. It only occurs in 1 out of 840 babies. However, the treatment is not that important if the condition doesn’t get complicated.

3. Does Congenital Ptosis in Newborn Babies Go Away?

Congenital Ptosis is a condition that affects a single or both of the eyelids. And in some events, it can block or restrict the normal vision for both eyes. Sometimes, Congenital Ptosis can present from birth, and in other cases, it can occur from any injury or disease later in life. However, it goes away with proper treatment or surgery.

Read Also: Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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