When Whitney Buha, a life and style blogger from Chicago who posts on Instagram as @somethingwhitty, went in for Botox injections on March 3, she expected the appointment to be as uneventful as it usually was. She’d been getting Botox injections for three years and knew what to expect from injections to the forehead and areas around and between the eyebrows.
But Whitney’s appointment was not uneventful. While she did arrive and leave the injector’s office without any particular trouble, something had gone wrong. About three days after her injection, Whitney realized that her left eyebrow was lower than her right eyebrow.
“The left eyebrow was straight compared to the right,” Whitney told Scary Mommy.
To try and even out the look, Whitney texted her injector and asked if there was a way to correct the imbalance. She went in six days after her original appointment and the injector added four units just below her left eyebrow to lift the brow. (Whitney has since learned that her injector never should have asked her to come back so soon after her initial appointment. The general rule is to wait at least two weeks after an injection before acting on any imbalance because that’s how long Botox could take to settle in.)
By Friday of the next week, she noticed her left eyelid had begun to droop, a condition clinically referred to as ptosis. By Sunday, she woke up and her eye felt heavy. Throughout the next week, her left eye began to droop more, while her right eye started “overcompensating and opening really, really wide so I could see the white” above the iris. A plastic surgeon Whitney consulted told her they’d never seen an eye droop that extreme from Botox.
After communicating with the medspa where Whitney received the injections and texting with her injector, Whitney got a referral to a doctor who specializes in the anatomy of the face. That specialist confirmed there was no way to dissolve the Botox, as would be possible with filler that had gone wrong. The only real solution is time based on how quickly your body metabolizes the Botox.
The specialist did offer two solutions that might lessen the drooping: prescription eyedrops called Upneeq, which are used to treat drooping eyelids, not necessarily due to Botox, and also adding two additional units of Botox to the lash line of the left eye.
Though Whitney was hesitant to add more Botox to her face, she ultimately agreed to the specialist’s suggestion. As of a few days ago, she believes she has seen some improvement. Those drops, along with other remedies such as massage, steam, a hot compress to the area, and allergy drops (Naphcon-A), which are supposed to help metabolize the Botox faster, seem to be helping.
Ptosis Is Rare
Doctors must make decisions about where to inject Botox and how deep the injection should go. Healthline.com cautions that even “a slight miscalculation, like making the injection too low in the forehead muscle, can cause eyelid drooping after Botox.”
What happened to Whitney is a very rare side effect. According to WebMD.com, “Around 5% of people who get Botox will have problems with eyelid droop. This number falls to less than 1% if a skilled doctor does the injection. You should get neurotoxin shots only in a medical setting.”
It’s important to note that Whitney’s injector was a trained professional and Whitney had been going to the same person without issue for about a year. But even a millimeter can make a difference, according to WebMD.
Sharing Her Story
Whitney has been documenting her Botox saga on her Instagram stories. While of course there were some mean messages (because it’s the Internet, and there are always people who feel the need to be cruel), her story has been met with an outpouring of support. Many are grateful for her honesty, either because they had a similar experience and feel more comfortable sharing their experience, or because they now know what questions to ask and complications to be aware of when they go for their appointment.
“Overall, it’s definitely a scary thing to share, but I do think people appreciate the honesty and I’ve been able to connect to so many people who’ve been through something similar,” Whitney shared with Scary Mommy.
Luckily, Whitney’s vision is fine. While she needs to hold down her right eye to close it, and sometimes her right eye gets tired and dry throughout the day, she can see as she normally would and has no problems sleeping. She also recognizes that what happened to her is rare. As a result, when asked whether she’d get Botox again, she confirms she will—though a fair amount of research will go into whomever she goes to next time.