The primary cause of drooping eyelids is aging, but there are other causes of eyelid drooping and factors that can cause eyelid drooping to be worse– one being contact lens use.

It sounds rather counterintuitive, doesn’t it? That a solution to correct your vision might be contributing to your drooping lids. It’s true; researchers have found that contacts can make drooping eyelids worse.

But don’t toss your contacts and reach for your glasses just yet.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about eyelid drooping, how contact lenses could be contributing, and what you can do to help prevent and fix drooping eyelids.

We will explore:

  • Understanding eyelid drooping, its seriousness, and potential complications if left untreated.
  • Insights from clinical studies regarding the link between contact lens usage and eyelid drooping.
  • Whether discontinuing contact lens wear is necessary when concerned about eyelid drooping.
  • Preventive measures to mitigate the risk of eyelid drooping.
  • The most effective treatment options available for addressing eyelid drooping.
  • The advantages of eyelid surgery as a solution for drooping eyelids.
  • The appropriate circumstances for considering eyelid surgery.
  • The eyelid surgery procedure and preparing adequately for it.
  • Locating reputable plastic surgeons for eyelid drooping in Middle Tennessee.

What is Eyelid Drooping (Ptosis)?

Eyelid drooping, known as ptosis in medical terms, is a common occurrence where one or both upper eyelids sag lower than their typical position. This can lead to aesthetic concerns and potential functional challenges, as the natural contour of the eye is altered.

Eyelid drooping can happen for a variety of reasons. Age, genetics, certain medical conditions, trauma, lifestyle factors, and yes, even wearing contact lenses can all contribute.

Are Drooping Eyelids Serious?

Drooping eyelids are not typically serious or life-threatening. Still, they can significantly impact both aesthetics and functionality, leading most people to want to address these potential visual obstructions and restore a more youthful appearance.

For the most part, drooping eyelids are often seen as one of the most significant indicators of age, a lack of vigor, and tiredness. So aesthetically, they can make you look and feel older than you are.

Aside from aesthetics, drooping eyelids can make it harder to see, depending on how far your eyelid has sagged. As a result, you might experience anywhere from a mild annoyance to having significant trouble seeing.

What Causes Drooping Eyelids?

From the inevitable effects of aging to underlying health conditions and certain lifestyle factors, a mix of factors can bring down your upper eyelids.

Let’s take a closer look at the lineup of potential causes that can give your eyelids a case of the droops:


As we age, the skin’s elasticity naturally diminishes, leading to sagging and drooping of the eyelids.


Genetic predisposition can play a role in how quickly and severely your eyelids droop over time.

Muscle Weakness

Weakening of the levator muscle, responsible for elevating the upper eyelid, can contribute to eyelid drooping.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage that affects the muscles controlling eyelid movement can lead to sagging.

Medical Conditions

Certain health issues like myasthenia gravis and Horner’s syndrome can contribute to eyelid drooping.

Eyelid Trauma

Physical trauma or injury to the eyelid area can disrupt the muscles and tissues, causing them to lose their supportive structure.

Eyelid Tumors

Tumors or growths on the eyelids can alter their shape and cause drooping.

Eyelid Inflammation

Chronic inflammation of the eyelids, known as blepharitis, can lead to tissue damage and eventual drooping.

Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid-related conditions like Graves’ disease can affect the tissues around the eyes, leading to drooping.

Excessive Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to UV rays can break down collagen and elastin in the eyelid skin, contributing to sagging.

Fluid Retention

Fluid retention due to factors like allergies or hormonal changes can temporarily lead to eyelid swelling and drooping.


Smoking can accelerate the breakdown of skin collagen, contributing to premature eyelid aging and sagging.

Lifestyle Factors

Poor diet, lack of sleep, and inadequate hydration can impact skin health and contribute to eyelid drooping.

Contact Lens Wear

Last but not least, contact lens wear. If you wonder if wearing contacts could be the culprit of your droopy eyelids, the short answer is yes. Extended and improper use of contact lenses has been shown to lead to eye strain and fatigue, potentially exacerbating eyelid drooping.

The rest of this article will focus on how contact lenses can worsen eyelid drooping and what you can do about it.

Clinical Studies Examining Contacts and Eyelid Drooping

Numerous studies have examined the role that both soft and hard contacts might play in eyelid drooping. Let’s review a couple of the most prominent.

A 2013 study¹ aimed to understand if wearing hard contact lenses could increase the risk of developing ptosis is probably one of the most cited. The researchers in this study conducted the study in a Japanese hospital, comparing people with ptosis to a control group.

They found that a significantly higher number of patients with ptosis (90.2%) had a history of wearing hard contact lenses compared to the control group (31.6%). In fact, those who wore hard contact lenses had a 20 times higher risk of ptosis compared to those who didn’t wear contact lenses.

The findings of this study suggest a strong connection between wearing hard contact lenses and the development of drooping eyelids. The study also found that in some cases, even soft lenses can also lead to the same condition.

Other recent data published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal also concluded that the level of eyelid drooping a person suffers from can be associated with wearing contact lenses. In this study², researchers reviewed 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 and a twin that didn’t was 0.5 millimeters. Twins who wore no contacts had ptosis of about 1 millimeter. The ptosis in twins who wore soft contacts 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 significant impact on eye drooping.

According to these studies, yes, wearing contacts can lead to ptosis, especially hard contact lenses. “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..

How Contacts Might Cause Droopy Eyelids

From the study performed by Guyuron et al, results showed that wearing contacts caused a weakening of the muscles that lift the upper eyelid. Although this change was seemingly small, it was enough to affect both vision and appearance.

Other experts believe that the sagging could merely result from the eyelid being stretched each time you place and remove your lenses.

While research does show there is a chance that wearing contacts, especially hard contact lenses, could make drooping eyelids worse, it is important to note that there are plenty of other causes of droopy eyelids:

Some other common causes of drooping eyelids include:

  • Aging
  • Cysts
  • Genetics
  • Eye tumors
  • Excessive eye rubbing
  • LASIK or cataract surgery
  • Laxity of the skin around the eyes
  • Nerve damage in the facial muscles
  • Neurological conditions such as Horner’s syndrome

There is also a small chance of ptosis from Botox. This happens when the botox neurotoxin migrates to the eye and paralyzes the muscles that hold up the eyelid. Droopy eyelids from Botox, however, will resolve on its own and go away in a few weeks.

If My Eyelids Are Drooping, Should I Stop Wearing Contacts?

If you’ve noticed your eyelids drooping and you’re a contact lens wearer, take a deep breath. While your lenses might contribute to the issue, the impact of contacts on drooping eyelids is likely minimal.

If you wear contacts and are experiencing eyelid drooping, we suggest that you speak with your eye doctor. They can assess your specific situation and provide personalized advice tailored to your eye health and condition.

Switching to soft contact lenses might be worth considering, as they generally offer a more gentle fit and flexibility. Also, to help minimize the risk of drooping eyelids, practice gentle habits when inserting and removing your contacts. Avoid tugging or pulling on your eyelids, which can aggravate any potential drooping.

How Can I Stop My Eyelids from Drooping?

Sagging skin around your eyes is often an unavoidable part of aging. However, a few healthy lifestyle choices can lower your risks of vision loss and muscle weakness around your eyes.

Some ways to help prevent or slow down eyelid drooping include:

Prioritize Regular Eye Checkups

Consistently scheduling eye exams allows your eye care provider to keep track of your visual health and offer solutions if you’re experiencing vision difficulties.

Shield Your Eyes from Sunlight

Whenever you’re outdoors, ensure you’re equipped with sunglasses and apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to safeguard your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Embrace a Well-Balanced Diet

Introducing a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet delivers essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to the well-being of your eyes.

Prioritize Quality Sleep

Rest is pivotal in preventing the worsening of droopy eyelids. Strive for a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night to promote overall eye health.

Limit Screen Time

Prolonged screen exposure – be it from computers, phones, or TVs – strains your eyes. Take breaks every 20 minutes and activate blue light filters on your devices to ease eye strain.

Kick Bad Habits

Quitting smoking boasts numerous benefits, including a reduced risk of ptosis or dermatochalasis, adding yet another incentive to say goodbye to cigarettes.

Be Gentle

When applying skin care products or make-up, and when putting in your contacts, be very gentle around your eyes. Do not aggressively rub, tug, or pull.

Treatments For Droopy Eyelids

Once the skin on your eyelids starts to droop, in most cases, it won’t go away on its own. But you don’t have to live with the condition. If your drooping eyelids are bothering you, there are both surgical and non-surgical solutions, no matter the cause.

Eye Drops for Droopy Eyelids

If you are not ready for surgery, prescription eye drops may be the perfect solution. But not just any eye drops. There are prescription eye drops relatively new to the market that are specifically formulated to address drooping eyelids.

UPNEEQ® drops are FDA-approved and designed to provide a non-invasive alternative for those seeking to improve their eyelid position without resorting to surgery or other invasive methods.

UPNEEQ® contains a specially crafted formulation that targets and activates the muscles responsible for lifting the upper eyelids. By putting these muscles to work, UPNEEQ® can potentially provide a noticeable lift to the eyelids, enhancing not only your aesthetic appearance but also helping to restore a less obstructed field of vision.

Eyelid Surgery for Droopy Eyelids

Eyelid surgery, known as blepharoplasty, is a procedure that focuses on improving the condition and shape of the skin around the eyes. It is the most effective, long term treatment for reversing drooping eyelids.

Targeted drooping eyelid lift surgery is a commonly sought-after cosmetic procedure. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s latest data reveals that 365,112 eyelid surgeries were performed in 2020, making it the second most popular cosmetic surgery of that year. The only surgery to surpass it was nose reshaping, with 287,434 procedures performed in the same year, but only by a small margin.

What Are The Benefits of Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)?

If you are looking for maximum, long-term results, eyelid surgery is the best way to enhance the appearance of your eyes. Eyelid surgery is also the gold standard for correcting vision problems caused by drooping eyelids.

Eyelid surgery can help:


  • Improve vision
  • Give the eyes a rested, youthful appearance
  • Reduce dark circles under the eyes
  • Minimize wrinkles
  • Remove excess skin, muscle, and fat deposits from around the eyes
  • Reduce bags under your eyes

A blepharoplasty may be worth considering if you’re looking for an effective and minimally scarring cosmetic procedure to correct eyelid drooping.

This surgery, which involves removing excess skin and fat from the eyelids, can provide long-lasting results that can significantly affect your appearance and vision.

Additionally, the recovery period for this procedure is typically short, meaning you can return to your normal routine relatively quickly.

How Does A Blepharoplasty Work?

While the idea of having surgery on your eyes may sound scary, modern technology and surgical techniques have made blepharoplasty a safe and highly effective procedure that yields natural-looking results with minimal to no scarring and minimal downtime.

Recent advancements in the field have introduced innovative techniques, including the integration of laser technology and the strategic use of Botox injections. These modern methods enhance the overall outcome and improve the patient’s experience.

Eyelid surgery options and desired outcomes will be discussed with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons during your complimentary consultation. But typically, eyelid surgery begins with creating small, discreet incisions thoughtfully placed within the natural contours that frame the eyes. These incisions are strategically designed to minimize visible scarring.

Surgeons first begin with the upper eyelids to remove fatty tissue and tighten loose skin. This transformative step works wonders in restoring a more youthful and alert appearance to the upper eye area. For those seeking comprehensive eye rejuvenation, lower eyelid blepharoplasty is the next step. It offers the opportunity to address concerns such as puffiness and the perennial issue of dark circles.

The duration of a blepharoplasty procedure typically spans one to three hours, depending on each patient’s unique needs and goals. It is an outpatient procedure, meaning you do not normally need to stay overnight in a hospital. Most patients can go home on the same day of the surgery.

Recovery after blepharoplasty typically involves a relatively smooth and manageable process. While you might be asked to avoid strenuous activity and not wear contacts for a little while, most patients can return to their daily activities within a week.

When Should I Get Surgery For My Eyelids?

If you ask your primary physician about your drooping eyelids, they typically won’t recommend surgery unless ptosis affects your vision. However, if the condition of the skin around your eyes bothers you, you can still seek treatment.

When you come into The Lett Center for a consultation for eyelid surgery, we’ll work with you to ensure you are a good candidate for surgery. Together, we’ll review your expectations and provide education for you so you have realistic expectations for the results of your surgery.

How To Prepare For Eyelid Surgery

Before you go on to schedule your surgery, we’ll discuss and review your medical history to ensure you have no outstanding risk factors. Also, we’ll review any previous surgeries and any underlying conditions that could impact the procedure. Finally, we’ll review your history of tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drug use and any medications you may be taking.

After thoroughly examining your medical history, we will provide recommendations for you before surgery. This might include going off of certain medications, quitting smoking, or abstaining from drinking alcohol for an extended period before your procedure.

Before you schedule your surgical appointment, you must also get a physical exam, a visual exam, and a set of eyelid photographs. We want to ensure you’re in the best condition before surgery and that you’ll be able to recover quickly.

Also, the pre-surgery photos will help Dr. Lett plan for your procedure so you get the results you’re looking for.

Who Should Perform Eyelid Surgery for Drooping Eyelids

Eyelid surgery is a delicate plastic surgery procedure that should only be entrusted to a qualified professional. It is of utmost importance that this surgery is carried out by a board-certified plastic surgeon with the necessary expertise and skills.

Your eyes are the focal point of your face and vital to your overall well-being. Therefore, entrusting the procedure to an experienced and certified surgeon is crucial to ensure the enhancement of your appearance and the preservation of your eye health.

If you want your eyelid surgery performed by one of the best plastic surgeons in Tennessee, request a consultation with The Lett Center. Dr. Dewayne Lett and Dr. Maelee Yang are board-certified plastic surgeons dedicated to providing the guidance and support you need to achieve your desired results.

Call The Lett Center For A Consultation Today

The eyes can be very telling of both our age and overall health, and many people face the effects of droopy eyelids. While for some, it’s merely a cosmetic worry, for others, it becomes an obstacle. Tasks as simple as reading or driving become more challenging, and the confidence that comes with looking your best takes a hit.

If you’d like to explore further information about non-surgical eye drops for drooping eyelids or eyelid surgery,  please contact us today. We’re here to discuss all of your options to help correct your drooping eyelids.



Kitazawa T. (2013). Hard contact lens wear and the risk of acquired blepharoptosis: a case-control study. Eplasty, 13, e30.

Nicholas Satariano, BS, Matthew S. Brown, MD, Samantha Zwiebel, MA, Bahman Guyuron, MD, FACS, Environmental Factors That Contribute to Upper Eyelid Ptosis: A Study of Identical Twins, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 35, Issue 3, March/April 2015, Pages 235–241,