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  • Chris Thiagarajah MD

Drooping eyelid in Denver: When a stye can cause a drooping eyelid


A droopy eyelid in Denver is not always what it seems to be. There are many causes of a drooping eyelid:

Eyelid Muscle detachment

Eyelid Muscle damage

Eyelid Muscle weakness

Autoimmune Condition (Myasthenia Gravis)

Neurological (Third Nerve/Horner’s syndrome)

Mass effect

A stye is formed when oil in the oil gland in the eyelid blocks and the resulting oil backs up expanding into a ball or knot. Warm compresses are helpful but sometimes an excision is needed after 4 weeks of warm compresses.


Figure 1: Drooping eyelid on the left from a stye or chalazion

So how does a stye cause a drooping eyelid?

There are several mechanisms by which this can happen:

The weight of the stye pulling down the eyelid

The physical weight of the stye can actually weight down the eyelid to make it drop down into a lower position. Additionally, swelling and edema of the eyelid from the stye can also weigh down the eyelid from excess fluid. Often when the stye is removed over 4 to 6 weeks the drooping returns back to normal. Sometimes it can take a full 6 months for the eyelid to return to normal position.

The stye stretching the muscle of the eyelid

The muscle of the eyelid is called the levator muscle. It is used to raise the eyelid. Often through aging it can get loose or weak and the eyelid can be drooping. If a patient has a stye, the levator muscle can stretch and relax and become droopy. Even if the stye is removed the levator is still loose or stretched and has to be tightened. This is not common but if the eyelid becomes drooping from a stye, the stye is removed and six months later the eyelid is drooping, the muscle most likely became stretched. I would wait 6 months before fixing the eyelid as it can take a while for it to return to normal.

The technique for raising the eyelid involves tightening the levator muscle or Mueller muscle of the eyelid. This is through either an incision on the skin surface or inside the eyelid. Each patient is a candidate for different procedures based on level of drooping, function of either muscle and previous surgery of the eyelid muscles. I would recommend seeing an oculoplastic surgeon in Denver who is trained in drooping eyelids and styes. They would be able to evaluate either cause and guide you to the best treatment. Our office number is 303 468 8844 for a consultation.


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