He’s Not Sleepy, He has a Drooping Eyelid

A.J. at 16 months

Whether we’re standing in line at the grocery store, playing at the park or sitting in a church sanctuary –  people seem to keep asking the same question about  my son A.J. –  “Is he sleepy?”
My response is usually just, “He always looks that way.”
But what I should say is, “He’s got a drooping eyelid.”

A.J. at 12 months old

I noticed a difference in A.J.’s left eyelid the day he was born. Huge tears welled up in his eyes too because he also had a clogged tear duct. I didn’t realize how common clogged tear ducts were in infants, until his pediatrician clued me in and I did some research on my own. Thank goodness we didn’t take the  approach to have surgery to unclog the tear duct because he grew out of it at around six months.

A.J. at 5 months old


On the flip side, A.J.’s left eyelid still droops a bit,  but doesn’t cover his pupil. A pediatric ophthalmology exam and follow-ups revealed he’s also a bit more near sighted in his left eye. I can hardly tell any problems with A.J.’s vision since he likes to call out the letters he recognizes on street signs, while we’re out walking, just as easily as he calls out the circles and doggies he sees in the books he’s holding.

Although the ophthalmologist suggested plastic surgery to tighten the muscle above his eyelid and make him look “normal,” we chose to leave him just the way God made him. Just doesn’t sit well with me to do plastic surgery on a toddler just because he looks a little sleepy.

Update: At 19 months old, he was fitted with frames for my nearsightedness or myopia.

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. my brother always tilted his head to the side and doctors wanted to “fix” that, but my parents let it go and I think as he got older it made him stand out–he was always so good looking, but this sort of gave him a handsome edge.

  2. Oh he looks adorable! I am with you, I would not be opting for surgery on my toddler unless there was a medical reason for it. I remember one of my friend’s had to have surgery on her daughters clogged duct because it would keep causing problems.

  3. My sister gets that a lot with my nephew. I think she gets aggravated having to listen to it though. I agree with you. AJ is PERFECT just as God made him! Thanks for sharing this post with us!

  4. He is adorable! I don’t know half the things out there when it comes to babies/small children. It is always a learning experience!

  5. Joyce thanks for sharing your story about your son. My brother had a severe case and did have to have plastic surgery. His eyes still droop and the doctor recommended further surgery but my parents said no. He is a successful man, is married, and quite happy. He was teased as a boy at times (but I took care of the teasers, LOL) but during his teens and adulthood all the girls wanted to go out with him. It’s so important to teach our kids to love themselves no matter what the perceived limitations are. You goo on and keep instilling love and self-respect in your baby. Be blessed!

    • Thanks for sharing your brother’s story, Samantha.
      It’s funny how you mention dating. One of my friends says A.J. will show the girls his “sexy eye” and have no problem getting the ladies!

  6. AJ is simply adorable…no matter what. My son, William, ended up having the tear duct surgery on one duct while we lived in Maryland. He was 17 months at the time and we had waited quite a while to see if it would unclog on it’s own. One tear duct did, but the remaining one had to be fixed or he would have been on eye antibiotics throughout his life along with the daily tearing. We did not rush into the surgery lightly and it did help that the doctor at Johns Hopkins was one of the best in the country. We have a good eye group here that I like to use for followup and our family eye treatment. Sounds like AJ may never have to consider the duct surgery since his has cleared up.

    • Thanks Ann!
      I agree, after 17 months I would have done the surgery too. A.J. goes to Emory’s pediatric eye group and we’re pretty happy with them.

  7. Awww Jennifer you’re so sweet. Glad to know other moms get the same questions I do!

  8. Thanks Brenda. I agree with your WW post – can’t believe summer is over! I want to swim some more and so does A.J. 😀

  9. That is interesting Joyce! I had no idea.

    He sure is a cute kid!!!