Ectropion is a condition where the eyelid turns outward. Typically ectropion occurs on the lower eyelid exposing the inner lid in either one section of eye or across the entire lid. Ectropion prevents tears from draining from the eye correctly, resulting in irritation.
Causes of Ectropion
Ectropion usually occurs in older adults as a result of the aging process. In adults the connective tissue around the eyes may progressively weaken. Other causes of ectropion include:
- Facial burns
- Removal of too much skin during blepharoplasty
- Congenital birth defect
- Facial paralysis
- Growths on the eyelid
- Rapid weight loss
Symptoms of Ectropion
The major symptoms of ectropion are usually:
- Dry eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Redness both on the eye and the eyelid
- Blurred vision from improper closure
Complications of Ectropion
Over time, if the condition is not treated, the exposed cornea may become damaged due to dryness and irritation leading to:
- Corneal abrasions
- Corneal ulcers
Contact your physician right away if you are experiencing light sensitivity, a decrease in vision or rapid onset of redness in the eye. Your doctor will be able to diagnose ectropion upon an examination of the eyes.
Treatment of Ectropion
While there are treatments for entropion, correction of the condition is completed with a brief surgical procedure in which the eyelids are repositioned. Temporary relief of the ectropion condition can also be found by the following treatment methods:
- Artificial tears
For most patients with ectropion, surgery is needed to correct the condition and involves:
- Tightening the lid at the outer corner of the eyelid and occasionally other adjunctive procedures such as moving adjacent tissue and tissue grafts.
Surgical Treatment of Ectropion
The eyelid area is numbed with a local anesthetic and a light sedation may also be provided. The eyelid is tightened at the outer corner of the eyelid, called the lateral canthus, with a non-absorbable suture to secure the eyelid and absorbable sutures to close the skin. The procedure takes 10-15 minutes and can be combined with Cosmetic procedures if the patient desires.
Patients need to apply ice compresses for 48-72 hours after surgery. Post-operatively an antibiotic and steroid ointment will need to be applied. Symptoms of ectropion usually resolve immediately. There may be some short-term bruising or swelling as a result of the procedure.