Research shows a negative bias toward people who have droopy eyelids

There is an unjust negative bias toward people who have droopy eyelids concludes a new study completed by researchers at Wright State University's School of Medicine.

During the recent annual meeting of the European Society of Ophthalmic, Plastic, and Reconstructive Surgeons, ophthalmologists from all over the world heard this presentation from John D. Bullock, M.D., chair of the department of ophthalmology and the Brage Golding Distinguished Professor of Research at Wright State University School of Medicine.

Bullock states that while studies have been done relating to many quality of life issues of people with different upper eyelid positions, the psychosocial implications of these characteristics have not, until this time, been examined.

To fill this gap in knowledge researchers launched a study to determine how members of society view individuals with these characteristics. Using questionnaires, 210 volunteers at local malls were asked to evaluate six whole-face photographs, either pre-or post-operative, of both male and female subjects with droopy eyelids. The study had the participants evaluate the photos based on 11 criteria: intelligence; threatening appearance; friendliness; healthiness; trustworthiness; hard-working; mentally ill; financially successful; attractiveness; alcoholic; and happiness.

Bullock states, “As a whole, both the male and female photographs with uncorrected blepharoptosis and dermatochalasis were viewed significantly more negatively, on all eleven of our measured characteristics, than the same patient's post-operative photographs.”

Researchers concluded that members of our society seem to view individuals with droopy eyelids negatively. These social attitudes may lead to unjust bias toward affected persons, and surgical correction likely provides benefits beyond improved visual function.

Other authors include: Ronald E. Warwar, M.D., assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology; David G. Bienenfeld, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Sara L. Marciniszyn, M.D., and Ronald J. Markert, Ph.D.

Last edited on 04/22/2015.