What is ectropion?
Ectropion occurs when the lower eyelid turns outward and does not touch the eye. The conjunctiva can become exposed and red. Ectropion usually affects one or both lower eyelids and rarely the upper eyelids.
What causes ectropion?
Ectropion is usually caused by age-related relaxation of eyelid tissues. It can also occur from a skin cancer pulling down the eyelid. Other causes include trauma, skin burns, scarring, congenital abnormalities, facial nerve (Bell’s) palsy, and eyelid or facial surgery. Ectropion may be worsened by constantly wiping the eyes.
What are the symptoms of ectropion?
Many symptoms of ectropion are a result of chronic irritation of the eye and eyelid. These include excessive tearing, lid crusting, mucus discharge, infection, sagging skin around the eye, decreased vision, redness and pain of the eye, and sensitivity to light and wind. Ectropion can also cause poor drainage of tears through the nasolacrimal system. Additionally, the exposed inner lining of the eyelid becomes dry and inflamed which can damage the eye’s surface.
How is ectropion treated?
Artificial tears and lubricating ointments can be used to moisten the cornea. When ectropion is caused by stretching of the eyelid’s supporting structures, surgery is the best treatment to repair the damaged lid’s muscle and tendons, restoring eyelid back to its normal position against the eye.