Floppy eyelid syndrome



What is floppy eyelid syndrome?

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is a condition in which the upper eyelid loses its elasticity, thus becoming loose, or “floppy” as opposed to maintaining a tight attachment to the tarsal plate (connective tissue). The loose upper eyelids become easy to evert (make it inside out).

How common is floppy eyelid syndrome?

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome is an uncommon medical condition

FES is reported in the age range of 25-80 years. However, middle-aged individuals (40-50 years) report this condition more commonly than other age groups

Although both genders may be affected, males are marginally more vulnerable to the condition than females

There is no racial or ethnic bias reported in the occurrence of this disorder.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of floppy eyelid syndrome?

The common symptoms of floppy eyelid syndrome are:

  • Easily everting (turning inside out), loose, and rubbery upper eyelids
  • Red eyes in the morning upon awakening
  • Chronic corneal inflammation
  • Chronic inflammation of the tissue underneath the upper eyelids, known as superior palpebral conjunctiva
  • Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, such as daytime sleepiness and snoring, may be observed

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes floppy eyelid syndrome?

The known causes of Floppy Eyelid Syndrome include:

  • Mechanical trauma:
    • Chronic lid-pillow interaction in facedown sleeping can reduce elastin, resulting in rubbery/loose eyelids
    • Elastin is a protein in connective tissue responsible for maintaining the shape and structure of many tissues in the body after they expand (stretch) or contract
  • Obstructive sleep apnea does not cause Floppy Eyelid Syndrome directly, but there is a strong correlation between the two

Risk factors

What increases my risk for floppy eyelid syndrome?

There are many risk factors for floppy eyelid syndrome, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: There exists a strong positive association of this eye disorder with obstructive sleep apnea
  • Chronic eye rubbing
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Sleeping face-down
  • Down syndrome
  • Keratoconus can be linked to frequent rubbing and mechanical effect on the cornea.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is floppy eyelid syndrome diagnosed?

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome is diagnosed by the following methods:

  • An examination of the affected individual’s eyes and an assessment of the presenting symptoms
  • Assessing the individual’s sleeping habits, such as favored position of sleeping, difficulty sleeping, daytime sleepiness, and snoring
  • An evaluation of detailed medical history that includes obstructive sleep apnea and other underlying medical conditions

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

How is floppy eyelid syndrome treated?

The treatment options for Floppy Eyelid Syndrome may involve:

  • Addressing and treating associated medical conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, as well as other conditions
  • Extensive application of lubricating ointment to the eye at bedtime to protect the ocular surface from being exposed while sleeping
  • Taping of the eyelids at bedtime to prevent lid eversion while sleeping
  • Eye patching or shielding at bedtime to prevent conjunctiva and corneal exposure while sleeping
  • Surgical intervention, including shortening or tightening the eyelids

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage floppy eyelid syndrome?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with floppy eyelid syndrome:

  • Proper diet and exercise to manage obesity
  • Sleeping on one’s side or back to prevent mechanical trauma to the eye, from lid-pillow contact
  • Effective management of obstructive sleep apnea

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 30, 2017 | Last Modified: October 31, 2017