An ectropion is the turning out of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the inner surface (palpebral conjunctiva) is exposed.
An ectropion can be caused by many conditions. An ectropian is usually caused by laxity of the eyelid due to rubbing or the aging process and the supportive tissue of the eyelid, which causes the lid to turn out. It can also be caused by:
- A congenital defect.
- Facial palsy (weakness or paralysis of the 7th cranial nerve- when the cause is unknown, this is called a Bell's Palsy)
- Scar tissue from burns or chronic irritation
- Dry, painful eyes
- Excess tearing of the eye with the tears running down the cheek (epiphora)
- Long-term (chronic) conjunctivitis
- Redness of the lid and white part of the eye
A physical examination of the eyes and eyelids confirms the diagnosis. Special tests are usually not necessary.
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 effective. It may be performed as outpatient surgery with local anesthesia.
The outcome is expected to be good with surgical treatment.
Corneal dryness and irritation may lead to:
- Corneal abrasions
- Corneal ulcers
- Eye infections
Corneal ulcers can threaten vision.
- Decreasing vision
- Light sensitivity
- Rapidly increasing redness