Correcting Ptosis in a Newborn Baby: Corrective Eye Surgery

Learn About this Drooping Eyelids and Newborn Vision

Newborn baby sleeping

If your baby has Ptosis, which is a drooping of the eyelid, corrective eye surgery may be necessary to ensure that the vision is not permanently impaired and can develop normally. The following information about newborn vision and Ptosis can help you to determine if your baby potentially suffers from this particular condition and should undergo examination. Here's how to correct Ptosis in a newborn baby.

How newborn vision works:

  1. From the time babies are born, they are able to see some objects and shapes, but their vision is by no means fully developed. Newborns can see faces and other large shapes, but their vision is very blurry. They can't make out the smaller details yet.
  2. Young babies are drawn to bright colors and contrasting patterns of light and dark, since they can make out the strong differences, but most of them can't distinguish between similar shades and subtleties until they are older.
  3. A baby's vision improves at a rapid pace. In fact, by the time your baby is three or four months old, he or she will be developing the ability to see smaller items and also to distinguish between many colors.
  4. By four months or so, your baby's eyes should be able to work together, allowing for depth perception.
  5. By your baby's second birthday, her vision should be comparable to that of an adult.

Signs and Treatment of Ptosis:

  1. If your baby's eyelids appear to droop or don't seem to be fully open, he may suffer from a condition known as congenital Ptosis, a weak muscle in the upper eyelid.
  2. A child with Ptosis may look very sleepy, or because of the drooping eyelids, it may appear as if one eye is smaller than the other one.
  3. Ptosis may occur in only one eye, or in both.
  4. An ophthalmologist who is familiar with baby health should examine your baby to confirm a diagnosis of Ptosis. The doctor will evaluate the vision by examining the pupils and the eyes' ability to move. In addition, the eyelid height should be measured, as well as the eyelid's lift and muscle strength.
  5. If Ptosis is mild, it may be strictly a cosmetic issue that doesn't affect the vision at all. Mild cases in newborn babies may not need to be addressed at this point but should be monitored and could be corrected when the child is older.
  6. If the eyelid drops enough to block any vision, however, the problem is more urgent and needs to be addressed. Otherwise, the development of your baby's vision can be compromised by ailments such as lazy eye.
  7. In addition to visual problems, Ptosis can also cause a child to lift his chin up and tilt his head back in order to try to see better, which can negatively impact motor development.
  8. Correction of severe Ptosis usually involves surgery on the eyelid.
  9. If the vision isn't too seriously impaired, the eyelid surgery can wait until your child is between three and five years old, but more severe Ptosis requires correction as soon as possible.
  10. The course of surgery depends on the cause and severity of the condition. It generally involves reattaching stretched muscles to their proper location, shortening an undeveloped muscle or using a sling to lift the eyelid.
  11. The baby will typically receive general anesthesia for Ptosis surgery.
  12. Following surgery, it can take several weeks for the eyelid to reach its final height.
  13. Expect your child to be monitored closely by the ophthalmologist following surgery.

Signs of other visual or eye problems:

  1. If your baby has trouble making and maintaining eye contact with you as he matures, this can be cause for concern. Talk to your doctor about typical vision development in infants.
  2. Also look for signs that your baby doesn't seem to see you.
  3. If your baby constantly has crossed eyes, or one eye that turns outward, schedule an appointment with your doctor. However, it is normal for a baby's eyes to cross occasionally for the first four to six months.
  4. Test your baby to see if she can track an object with her eyes. Usually babies can do this once they are three months old.


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