Medical News Today: Asymmetrical eyes: What to know

Potential causes of asymmetrical eyes include:


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A person may inherit asymmetrical eyes.

Genetics can account for uneven eyes and other types of facial asymmetry.

People with asymmetrical eyes may notice that other members of their family have similar features.

Having asymmetrical eyes as a result of genetics is not a cause for concern.


Imaging studies show a significant link between increasing age and facial asymmetry.

As people age, the soft tissues in the face relax. Cartilage, such as that in the nose, continues to grow while the bones do not. These changes can cause asymmetry.

Lifestyle factors

Some lifestyle factors can contribute to uneven eyes. For example, research on sets of twins has linked smoking with upper eyelid ptosis, also known as droopy eyelids.

Also, excessive sun exposure can change the skin around the eyes. Sun damage may affect one side of the face more than the other, leading to asymmetry.

Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy is a type of sudden, temporary facial paralysis. It causes one side of the face to droop, affecting the smile and one eye.

Its cause is currently unknown, though it may be due to trauma, nerve damage, or a complication of a viral infection.

Other signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:

  • changes in tear or saliva production
  • difficulty making facial expressions
  • drooling
  • headaches
  • jaw or ear pain


Sustaining a blow to the face or being involved in a vehicle collision can cause damage to the eye area, leading to asymmetry.

Facial trauma may cause enophthalmos, or displacement of the eye. This causes people to appear as if they have a sunken eye.

Sinus conditions

Some sinus conditions can also lead to enophthalmos. These include:

  • chronic maxillary sinusitis
  • maxillary sinus tumors
  • silent sinus syndrome

With these conditions, changes to the eye can happen suddenly or gradually. They may also cause other symptoms, including:

  • fatigue
  • nasal discharge
  • pain and swelling
  • reduced sense of taste and smell
  • a sore throat

Graves’ disease

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition that causes an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

People with Graves’ disease can develop proptosis, or bulging eyes. When this affects one eye more than the other, it can lead to asymmetry.

Some other signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • anxiety
  • changes in sexual desire or function
  • enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • fatigue
  • heart palpitations
  • menstrual changes
  • sensitivity to heat
  • sweating
  • unintended weight loss


Stroke is a medical emergency. It can occur when there is reduced blood flow to the brain.

People can develop sudden facial asymmetry due to stroke. If the drooping is extreme, it may affect a person’s vision.

Other symptoms of stroke include:

  • difficulty speaking and understanding
  • a sudden, severe headache
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • numbness or weakness of the face, one arm, and one leg
  • sudden onset of blurred or double vision

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