Ectropion & Entropion

What is Ectropion?

Ectropion (loose lower eyelids) | Bellevue WA | Seattle

Ectropion is the turning out of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the inner surface is exposed.

Ectropion is usually caused by the aging process and the weakening of the connective tissue of the eyelid, which causes the lid to turn out. It can also be caused by:

  • A defect that occurs before birth (for example, in children with Down syndrome)
  • Facial palsy
  • Scar tissue from burns

Ectropion Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Dry, painful eyes
  • Excess tearing of the eye (epiphora)
  • Eyelid turns outward
  • Long-term (chronic) conjunctivitis
  • Keratitis
  • Redness of the lid and white part of the eye

Ectropion Treatment

Dr. Tarbet will do an examination of the eyes and eyelids to confirm the diagnosis, as well as take pictures. In many cases insurance will cover this procedure.

Artificial tears (a lubricant) may relieve dryness and keep the cornea lubricated. Surgery to tighten the muscles that hold the eyelids in place is usually the most effective. It is performed as an outpatient surgery with local anesthesia. Recovery is quick and patients normally have only slight bruising and swelling.

What is Entropion?

Entropion (inverted lower eyelids) | Bellevue WA | Seattle

Entropion is inward turning of the lower eyelid, resulting in the eyelashes directing towards the surface of the eye, causing discomfort. The skin of the eyelid and the eyelashes may rub against the cornea (front part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (the white mucous membrane that protects the surface of the eye). Rubbing of the eyelid skin and lashes against the eye can result in excess tearing, crusting of the eyelid, mucous discharge, foreign body sensation, irritation of the cornea and impaired vision from keratitis.

Most commonly entropion is due to relaxation of the tissue in the eyelid as a result of aging. It can be caused occasionally by scarring of the inner surface of the eyelid from chemical or thermal burns of inflammatory diseases, such as ocular pemphigoid or allergic reactions.

Entropion Treatment

Temporary relief of entropion can be by taping of the eyelid outwards, putting in comforting lubricant drops, or temporarily paralyzing the muscle that turns the eyelid in (orbicularis muscle) with a tiny injection of Botox, or Botulinum Toxin A, to the muscle of the lower lid. In the long term, surgery is recommended to prevent rubbing damage of the eyelid skin and lashes on the front of the eye, by reducing infection and risk of scarring.

What type of surgery is done for entropion of the lower eyelid?

Surgery for entropion is usually done under local anesthesia, as an out-patient. Dr. Tarbet will tighten the eyelid and its attachments, which can be done by either some simple sutures, or stitches, placed through the lower eyelid, or sutures plus eyelid tightening and stabilization with a lateral tarsal strip. You then will put in antibiotic drops or ointment for one to three weeks. After the eyelid has healed, the eye should feel comfortable, the eyelid be in a normal position and there will no longer be any risk of corneal scarring, infection or loss of vision.

What are the risks of entropion surgery?
  • Bruising around the eyelids and on the eye.
  • Infection of the eyelid or eye.
  • Recurrence or over-correction of the eyelid, resulting in it turning outwards, requiring further operation.
  • Allergic reaction to the local anesthetic injection, or the antibiotic ointment or drops.
What are the benefits of entropion surgery?
  • Complete relief of symptoms of tearing, crusting, mucous discharge, foreign body sensation, irritation and blurred, impaired vision.
  • Reduction of the risk of eye infection and restoration of the normal position and appearance of the eyelid.

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