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One-Sided Drooped Eyelid
Interesting and challenging case recently, as always. An elderly female patient decided to sought after treatment for her eyelid, one of which was slightly but obviously less elevated than usual as compared to the other side. Clinically this is not a very common case. In most situations both sides would be equally sagged down, as is the case for many seniors. Such would usually be considered a normal process of aging. However, whenever only one side appears off, for some medical practitioners this may be a medical alert signal, usually with concerns to possible growths on that side of the brain(or a precursor to myasthenia gravis?).
The patient had gone for tests of various kinds and the doctors decided it wasn't a cause for worry. On the side of the patient, it is primarily an aesthetic concern for her. The doctors suggested surgery but since it wasn't very severe(although obvious), she refused and decided to see what TCM can do. However when I saw the patient and took her history, as well as performed my TCM diagnostics, I had a different idea.
Based on the sequence of events as described by the patient, the problem was picked up one day during a photo shoot. Other people around her were perhaps not at the convenience of pointing this out to her, for politeness sakes I would say. Exactly how long has this droopiness be going on is also a mystery but it was evident that it was predisposed by chronic fatigue leading up to it. I told the patient the problem from the Chinese Medicine perspective is termed a "stroke". In modern medicine, it could have been a very very mini stroke, which does usually happen anyway when fatigue reaches a certain point(and so do many other "sudden" conditions). Because it was very minor so that may be why tests do not show anything definitive. When the patient heard from me that it may have been a mini stroke, she had an eureka moment.
Stroke or no stroke, this droopiness comes from the lack of nerve signal going to the upper eyelid muscle, causing it to lose tone and leading to drooping of the eyelid. Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can help restore nerve signals and stimulate nerve function, but it is not easy either, severity and duration of the problem will affect how much recovery is achievable. Nerves are one of those things that when alive can be extremely sensitive but when half-dead can be unbelievably slow.
We then started a round of treatments with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. So far it has been 5 treatments and the patient's chronic fatigue has improved quite a bit, the eyes looks more energized, and the difference of the 2 eyelids is less obvious now. The treatment continues.