Normally, the upper and lower eyelids close tightly, protecting the eye from damage and preventing tear evaporation. If the edge of one eyelid turns inward (entropion), the eyelashes rub against the eye, which can lead to ulcer formation and scarring of the cornea. If the edge of one eyelid turns outward (ectropion), the upper and lower eyelids cannot meet properly, and tears are not spread over the eyeball.
These conditions are more common among older adults (generally the result of increased tissue relaxation with age); among people with eye changes caused by infection, autoimmune disease, surgery, or injury; and among people who have blepharospasm Blepharospasm Blepharospasm is a spasm of the muscles around the eye. The cause of blepharospasm is often unknown. It affects women more than men and tends to occur in families. It can sometimes be caused... read more . Ectropion can also occur in people with Bell palsy Bell Palsy Bell palsy (a type of facial nerve palsy) is sudden weakness or paralysis of muscles on one side of the face due to malfunction of the 7th cranial nerve (facial nerve). This nerve moves the... read more .
Symptoms of Entropion and Ectropion
Both entropion and ectropion can irritate the eyes, causing a feeling that something is in the eye (foreign body sensation), watering Watery Eyes Excess tearing may cause a sensation of watery eyes or result in tears falling down the cheek. Other symptoms, such as eye irritation or pain, may be present depending on the cause. Most tears... read more , and redness Eye Redness Eye redness refers to a red appearance of the normally white part of the eye. The eye looks red or bloodshot because blood vessels on the surface of the eye widen (dilate), bringing extra blood... read more .
Diagnosis of Entropion and Ectropion
Symptoms and a doctor's examination
A doctor bases the diagnosis of both entropion and ectropion on the symptoms and examination findings.
Treatment of Entropion and Ectropion
Artificial tears and eye ointments
In people with entropion or ectropion, artificial tears and eye lubricant ointments (for use overnight) can be used to keep the eye moist and soothe the irritation. Entropion and ectropion can be treated surgically—for instance, to preserve sight if damage to the eyes (such as corneal ulcer with entropion) is likely or has occurred, for comfort, or for cosmetic reasons.