Contact lenses are worn by approximately 30 million Americans and 71 million people throughout the rest of the world. There are many different types of contacts available for wearers, and the reasons why people decide to wear them are just as varied.

Recent data published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal has concluded that the level of eyelid drooping a person suffers from (also known as ptosis) can be associated with wearing contact lenses.

Researchers studied photographs of 96 identical twins between 2008 and 2010, measuring the level of ptosis in each. The research concluded that the difference in ptosis between a twin that wore contacts compared to a twin that didn’t was 0.5 millimeters. Twins who wore no contacts had ptosis of about 1 millimeter.

In twins who wore soft contacts, the ptosis increased to 1.41 millimeters and 1.84 millimeters in those who wore hard contacts.

Researchers were aware that outside environmental factors could affect the ptosis in the twin. Nine environmental factors were considered as potential causes including smoking, sun exposure, alcohol consumption, and sleep patterns. None of them were proven to have a major impact on eye drooping.

The study concluded that wearing contacts can cause ptosis.

“We were able to demonstrate that, of the external factors unrelated to the genes or aging, use of contacts was the only factor that linked to the droopy eyelids,” said lead study author Bahman Guyuron, MD, FACS.

Wearing contacts caused a weakening of the muscles that lift the upper eyelid. Although this change was seemingly small, it is enough to affect both vision and appearance. Drooping eyelids are often seen as one of the biggest indicators of age, a lack of vigor, and tiredness.

Correcting this phenomenon has become more popular, as seen in statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Over 165,000 surgeries were performed in 2014 alone, as well as over 31,000 brow lifts.

Although eyelid drooping can also occur with age, there are steps people can take to lessen its effect. One of these steps is undergoing eyelid surgery. An eyelid surgery, known as a blepharoplasty, is a procedure that can reduce dark circles under the eyes, remove excess wrinkles and give the eyes back their youthful appearance.

The procedure includes tiny incisions being made in the natural contours around the eyes, which usually leave no visible scars behind. Surgeons usually begin with the upper eyelids first to remove fatty tissue and tighten loose skin. Lower eyelids are completed afterward to eliminate puffiness and reduce dark circles.

This procedure takes between one and three hours depending on the patient. In recent years it has also included the use of new laser technology, as well as Botox injections.

Surgery options and desired outcomes will be discussed with Dr. Lett of The Lett Center during your consultation.