Ptosis Surgery in San Diego, CA

Free Consultations Available


1520 East Plaza Boulevard, National City, CA 91950

Office Hours

8:00AM - 5:00PM
Monday - Friday

Meet our Surgeon

Emma McDonnell, M.D., is a board certified Oculoplastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. She specializes in adult and pediatric reconstructive and cosmetic eyelid surgery (i.e. Blepharoplasty), brow and forehead lifts, facial and orbital surgery. Dr. McDonnell is trained to diagnose and manage diseases of the eye socket and the lacrimal drainage system, and thyroid eye diseases, and to treat facial trauma and eyelid injuries. Dr. McDonnell attended University of Southern California where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Healthy and Humanity. After that, she attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. Dr. McDonnell did her residency in Ophthalmology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and fellowship in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins Hospital. She has multiple publications and was voted 2nd best research paper by a Resident by University of Southwestern. Following her extensive training, Dr. McDonnell became board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. She is a member of North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, and Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology. Dr. Emma McDonnell is originally from Southern California and she is very excited to be back to serve the community. During her free time, she enjoys running and reading. Dr. McDonnell is proficient in Spanish and English.

What is Ptosis?

Ptosis is characterized by the drooping of the upper eyelids. Although many people associate ptosis with aging, many people including children may develop ptosis after eye surgery, an eye injury, or as a result of a congenital condition. Ptosis may affect just one eye or both eyes and can cause disrupted vision in patients with severe drooping. Because ptosis may be a result of a serious underlying health condition, it’s important for patients to see a doctor for their drooping eyelids as soon as they see a development.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Ptosis?

Typically, ptosis is caused by weakened muscles responsible for raising the eyelid or from damage to the nerves that control the responsible muscles. In some cases, ptosis may simply be caused by loose or sagging skin on the upper eyelid. In rare cases, ptosis may be caused by a more severe underlying condition. In addition to the possibility of the disorder occurring as a congenital condition, or as a consequence of an injury or surgery, ptosis may be caused by:

  • Migraine headache
  • Growth in the eyelid, such as a stye
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Horner syndrome
  • Benign or malignant tumor

How Is Ptosis Diagnosed?

Ptosis itself is typically easily diagnosed by our skilled ophthalmologists, however, a series of comprehensive eye exams must be performed to determine what is causing the ptosis. Necessary exams may include visual field testing, slit-lamp examinations, and tension tests for the muscles affecting the upper eyelid. If there is a concern about a severe underlying health condition, we will be happy to refer you to a trusted internist or physician for further diagnostic testing.

    How Can I Treat Ptosis?

    Patients often seek treatment for drooping eyelids for cosmetic reasons or to rejuvenate their appearance. The most common treatment for ptosis is a surgical eyelid lift procedure called blepharoplasty (LINK). During blepharoplasty, a small incision will be made along the natural crease of the eyelid through which excess tissue can be removed and weakened muscles can be tightened. Patients with less severe cases of ptosis may opt for a ptosis crutch or an attachment to the frames of glasses that manually lift up the drooping eyelid.

      How Can I Prevent Ptosis?

      While there is no way to prevent the onset of ptosis, the best way to reduce risks associated with the onset of ptosis is to make sure you are getting regularly examined by a skilled physician like one of our expert ophthalmologists. Getting regular examinations can ensure your ptosis is not being caused by a severe health condition and that it is not obstructing your vision.