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How to Get Rid of Saggy Eyelids & Strengthen Drooping Eyelid Muscles

woman with a saggy eyelid

Droopy eyelids are just some of the signs of ageing we experience as we get old. Combined with eye bags and dark circles, they make us look sad and fatigued. Sometimes, they can even cause vision problems. Over time, the amount of excess skin on the upper eyelids increases and the facial muscles weaken. Due to ageing, the skin loses its elasticity and gravity takes over. This leads to sagginess.

If you are interested to learn how to fix that cosmetic issue and help tighten skin on the upper lid, keep reading. The tips and treatments that we discuss in this post are known to improve the look of your eye area and some of them you can try at home. Make sure you're fully aware of the potential outcomes before you get started.

Key Takeaways

  • There are many ways to address eyelid drooping, both homemade and invasive cosmetic surgery options
  • The condition manifests in varying degrees and this is what helps to determine the type of treatment you need
  • Drooping eyelid may lead to "lazy eye"
  • Homemade remedies and exercises are not guaranteed to work but they can be slightly effective in mild cases
  • There is no need to do anything about droopy eyes if they don’t restrict your field of vision or cause other health issues

What are Droopy Eyelids and What Are the Symptoms?

The name droopy eyelids is pretty much revealing. It implies that there is excess saggy eyelid skin (dermatochalasis) or sometimes the edge of the upper eyelid gets lower than it normally is. This is called ptosis or blepharoptosis. Sagginess can appear in one or both eyelids and make you look old and tired. In children, it can cause lazy eye or amblyopia.

One of the most obvious symptoms of this condition is the sagging eyelid itself. If it affects just one eye, the eyes appear asymmetrical. It should be noted that the degree of sagginess varies from one patient to the next. Not to mention, the condition can advance over time.

Another sign of ptosis is having to tilt your head back every time you want to see something, since the lid is blocking your vision partially. It can also make you raise your brows more often in an attempt to lift the eyelid.

Peer-reviewed studies show that ptosis may occur due to neurogenic, traumatic, mechanical, aponeurotic, or myogenic causes (learn more about all the most common ptosis causes). It's most often caused by ageing. In some cases, ptosis surgery is the best treatment, especially when the droopy lid covers the pupil of the eye.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Drooping Eyelid

doctor preparing patient for non surgical saggy eyelid treatment with dermal fillers

Hyaluronic acid fillers

There are options that do not require a surgical intervention. Take for instance hyaluronic acid. The procedure is ideal for those who have lost volume in the eyelid area leading to droopiness. Small injections will be applied to the area to eliminate the sags and tighten the skin.

The result is an eyelid lift that can last between a year and a year and a half, and does not require any kind of postoperative period. Along with other treatments such as facial vitamins or thread lifts, you can always get the best out of your eye look.

Dermal fillers work great for other aesthetic issues and can rejuvenate the skin. Check our article on how to fix droopy eyelids and ptosis without surgery.

Botulinum toxin

doctor extracting botox from bile into syringe

Another treatment, which can lift the patient's upper eye area, is Botox injections. It should be noted that it doesn’t fill any gaps. The mechanism of action consists of blocking nerves connected to the muscles of the eyelid, which relaxes the latter.

For the treatment to have the expected results, it is essential that a professional study each case in detail. This means not only evaluating the cause of the eyelid drooping, but also noting the type of the person's eye brows. In addition, they should observe the elasticity of the eyelid, which happens to have the thinnest skin, and then check the function of the levator muscle. 

Once the case has been analysed, the area is prepped and the designated regions are injected with the substance. The result of this procedure can be fully appreciated from the first days.

The best part is, a postoperative period is not necessary. As long as patients follow the experts' advice, they will be able to continue with their daily activities as soon as they leave the clinic.

In general, the effects of the treatment last some 5-6 months. After this period, it is possible to repeat the application regularly.

Surgical Treatments That Fix Droopy Eyelids

The most effective way to deal with droopy eyelids and help improve the appearance of the upper lids is through plastic surgery. The procedure is called upper blepharoplasty and it involves different techniques. It can be done with a scalpel or laser. The latter option requires less downtime and offers faster results.

During the saggy eyelid surgery, the specialist makes cuts alongside the eyelid to access the tissues underneath. This way, they can remove excess fat and lift the muscle. If there is excess skin around your eyes, it is cut away. At the end of the procedure, the wound is sealed with stitches.

How to Get Rid of Saggy Eyelids at Home

Many people don’t rush to the doctor when they have drooping of the lids because they don’t want to have minimally invasive treatments or surgery. That’s why the majority of them first look up how to fix saggy eyelids naturally.

Now, even though natural remedies can never be as nearly effective as aesthetic treatments, they have a place here if you are dealing with a mild case of ptosis. However, if your condition gets worse, you should seek advice from a surgeon.

Let’s look at some of the options.

  • Put a couple of cucumber slices in the fridge for a few minutes and then apply them to your eyes. Let them sit for 15 minutes. When the time has elapsed, throw the chilled cucumber away.
  • Eat more grapes. It is rich in antioxidants, resveratrol specifically. This compound can slow down certain cellular aging processes.
  • Use chamomile tea bags to make some tea. Instead of disposing of the bags, put them in the fridge for a few minutes so they can chill a bit. Place them over your eyes for 15 minutes. Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory agents which reduce puffiness.
  • Wash your face with cold water. Pay special attention to the eye area. Cold can shrink the skin on the eyelid and fix mild sagginess temporarily. It also reduces puffy eyes.
  • Apply ice to your eyes. Wrap it in a thin cloth before you put it on the skin to avoid burning it. Ice will constrict the blood vessels and help prevent droopiness.
  • Prepare a concoction of 4 tablespoons of aloe vera gel, 4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt, a few slices of peeled cucumber, and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal. Stir to make a paste. Apply to the eyelids and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. When you are done, rinse your eyes with cool water.

If you follow these tips every day, you will see benefits in no time. Another important step to your overall skin health is to apply sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days. It is recommended that you use sunscreen at home as well and reapply it every few hours. This will reduce premature aging, helping you maintain a youthful look for an extended period.

Do Droopy Eyelid Exercises Exist?

Yes, there are exercises that you can do to strengthen the muscles of your face, the eyelids included. It’s called face yoga and it has plenty of supporters. However, you should know that no studies have been conducted to prove that exercises might reduce sagginess in the desired areas. But as you know, it still doesn’t hurt to give them a try if you are curious about them. Just don’t forget to keep your expectations low.

Eye Exercises You Can Try to Improve Muscle Function

The first exercise for eyelid sagging is to press your index finger against the bone below the eyebrows. Close your eyes without letting go of your finger. Wait for five seconds, then open your eyes and repeat.

The second exercise is a classic. Use your thumb and forefinger to press on the cheekbone and eyebrow respectively. Open your eyes as you press down with your fingers. Relax your body while closing your eyes little by little.

Another exercise that you can try without getting your hands involved is to close your eyes forcefully. Keep them closed for a few seconds and then open them slowly again. Repeat this approximately 10 times.

Or you can do the same exercise with a small addition. As you close your eyes, put your thumb on the upper eyelids. Try opening your eyes while gently pressing for about five seconds. Release your fingers and slowly open your eyes. You can repeat this exercise about 10 times.

Finish off by practising Trataka as it is beneficial for eye health.

When to See a Doctor

You should consult a specialist if your droopy eyelids start to interfere with your ability to see and your daily life. It’s not uncommon for the issue to turn from cosmetic to functional.

If that is the case with you, home remedies or face yoga won’t be anywhere near effective. You’ll need help from a medical professional. The choice of treatment for droopy lids may depend on the severity of the condition and the underlying causes.

On the other hand, if your vision is not blocked but your eyelid appearance bothers you so much that it lowers your self-esteem, you should talk to a plastic surgeon about it and see what options are available for you.

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