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How Does Upneeq Work?

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Droopy eyelids can affect your confidence or even your vision, making it harder to see. Some patients believe they need surgery to address this condition, but our eye Doctors at CHROMA may recommend Upneeq, a prescription eye drop, for treating drooping eyelids. 

Upneeq is an eyedrop that helps open eyelids wider by contracting a nearby muscle. It can help treat a droopy eyelid without needing surgery. 

A Common Cause of Droopy Eyelids

Ptosis is a condition causing a droopy eyelid, potentially covering parts of your eye depending on severity. 

There’s no age limit related to ptosis—children, adults, and seniors can all develop this condition. While many patients develop this condition with age as the muscle necessary for lifting the eyelid weakens, ptosis can occur in children due to improper muscle development. 

Regardless of age, ptosis has many possible symptoms. You may not even realize you have this condition at first. Signs and symptoms of ptosis include: 

  • A saggy eyelid
  • Affected vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Achy eyes

Some patients with ptosis may need to tilt their heads to see clearly. It’s important to book an eye exam with one of our Optometrists at CHROMA to help identify the source of your symptoms, whether it’s ptosis or another condition affecting your quality of life. 

What Causes Ptosis?

The cause of ptosis is an issue with your levator muscle, the muscle responsible for lifting your eyelid and holding it in position. 

In children, the levator muscle may not develop correctly. In adults, ptosis (known as acquired or involutional ptosis) occurs when this muscle weakens. The common causes of ptosis in adults include: 

  • Eye injury
  • Aging
  • Side effects from eye surgery
  • Diseases or tumors (rarely) 

Surgery used to be the primary method of treating ptosis—a surgeon makes an incision near the eye and then treats the levator muscle to help it more effectively lift your eyelid. However, not everyone wants to have or is eligible for surgery. A noninvasive way to treat ptosis is with Upneeq, a treatment our team may recommend. 

Aesthetic Use

You don’t necessarily need a medical reason to seek an Upneeq prescription. We have commonly seen patients who have only one droopy eyelid, with the desire to simply fix it for cosmetic purposes. 

The medication can be used in one eye to make both lids look symmetrical, which can lead to an improvement in self confidence, especially when it comes to things like taking photographs. 

Drawn image showing ptosis of the upper left eyelid in both a child and adult.

What Is Upneeq?

Upneeq is a prescription eye drop for treating ptosis. It features oxymetazoline, a medication that helps contract the levator muscle and raise your eyelid by around 1 millimeter. 

Upneeq can help raise droopy eyelids, but only if they’re related to your levator muscles. It won’t work for ptosis caused by sagging eyebrows, eye injury or nerve damage, or excess skin. 

This treatment is not a one-and-done solution for ptosis—you need to continue to use Upneeq to receive the benefits. You can use this medication as long as necessary because of its safety, and the results last about 6 hours. Upneeq is FDA-approved, showing that it can effectively treat ptosis while being safe for continued use. 

How to Use Upneeq

You typically insert one drop of Upneeq in each affected eye once daily. It’s important to avoid contaminating the eye dropper or touching your eye with dirty fingers when using eye drops. 

You can safely apply Upneeq by following these steps: 

  • Wash your hands before making any contact with your eye.
  • Tilt your head back while looking up and pull down your lower eyelid. 
  • Apply the medication into the space created by the lower eyelid. 
  • Close your eyes while looking down to help the medication cover your eye. 
  • Repeat these steps with the other eye if necessary. 

Our eye doctors will help demonstrate how to properly administer the eye drops during your appointment at our clinic.

Upneeq can help treat droopy eyelids, but they may not be ideal for your needs. Speaking with our eye doctors at CHROMA can help determine if Upneeq can benefit your ptosis—if necessary, our doctors can also refer you for surgery. We will review your medical history and inform you of possible side effects.

Some side effects of Upneeq include: 

  • Inflammation
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Discomfort
  • Irritation
  • Headache
  • Red eyes

While these side effects are possible, they typically only affect around 1 to 5% of patients. 

Learn More About Upneeq at CHROMA

If you’re looking for a noninvasive way to treat ptosis, Upneeq might be the answer. It can help open your eyelid wider, improving the look of your eyes and helping you see more clearly. 

Visiting our eye doctors at CHROMA can help. We can determine if this treatment is right for your needs and recommend treatment options for your specific situation. Contact the CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare team to book an appointment if you experience ptosis symptoms. Feel free to call, text, book online, or even drop by if you’d like to check out our modern clinic in person. 

Dr. Matt Barber of CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare

Written by
Dr. Matt Barber

Dr. Matthew G. Barber began seeing patients at CHROMA in September of 2001. For over two decades, Dr. Barber has worked diligently to provide cutting-edge eye care to the people of Fort Worth and its surrounding areas while providing a warm and friendly environment for his patients. He wanted to give the community of Fort Worth something unique and special, and so CHROMA was born.

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Dr. Matt Barber
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