An ectropion is an outwardly turned or sagging lower eyelid. The sagging lower eyelid leaves the eye exposed and dry, and as a result, excessive tearing is common with ectropion. If it is not treated, the condition can lead to crusting of the eyelid, mucous discharge, and irritation of the eye. A serious inflammation could result in damage to the eye. Ectropion can affect one or both of the lower eyelids.
Normally, the upper and lower eyelids close tightly, protecting the eye from damage and preventing tear evaporation. If the edge of one eyelid turns outward, the two eyelids cannot meet properly, and tears are not spread over the eyeball. This may lead to irritation, burning, a gritty, sandy feeling, excess tearing, visible outward turning of the eyelid, and redness of the lid and conjunctiva.
Corneal dryness and irritation may lead to eye infections, corneal abrasions, or corneal ulcers. Rapidly increasing redness, pain, light sensitivity, or decreasing vision should be considered an emergency in a person with ectropion.
Ectropion can be diagnosed with an eye exam. If you are concerned about your eyelids, call our office today for an appointment.
Artificial tears and lubricating ointments can be used to moisten the cornea to prevent dryness of the cornea. When ectropion is caused by stretching of the eyelid’s supporting structures, surgery is the best treatment to repair the involved muscle and tendons of the eyelid. Depending on the cause of ectropion, surgery can be used to reposition the eyelid back to its normal position against the eye.