From crow’s feet to worsening vision, our eyes are particularly susceptible to the effects of aging. Caused by a loosening of the lower eyelids, an entropion and ectropion are age-related conditions that can impact both the appearance and function of a person’s eye.
An entropion occurs when the lower eyelid rolls inward toward the eye, causing the lashes to touch the cornea. An ectropion has the opposite effect and causes the lower lid to droop away from the eye, leaving the eye more exposed. Both an entropion and ectropion can affect one or both lower eyelids and rarely can affect the upper eyelids as well.
In addition to impacting a person’s appearance, an entropion and ectropion can cause a variety of health complications. An entropion can result in irritation, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing. While an ectropion can affect tear drainage and expose your eye to dust and debris, causing irritation and dryness or even the opposite with excessive tearing. Both conditions tend to worsen with time and can eventually lead to cornea damage.
While an entropion and ectropion are most commonly caused by the laxity that develops with aging, chronic allergies, eye scarring, and eye trauma are other risk factors. You can help prevent these conditions by avoiding rubbing your eyes and ensuring you apply any eye drops
or ointments correctly. Ideally, you would never pull down your lower eyelids to apply drops, but instead you should tilt your head back and lift up your upper eyelid to instill the drops. In the case of needing to apply an ointment to the eye, this approach could be difficult — and in this case, gently pulling down on the lower eyelid to make a pocket would be best.
Once an entropion or ectropion has developed, surgery is usually the only solution. Your surgeon will typically make a small incision in the outer corner of your eyelid and shorten the eyelid to provide the proper amount of tension. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis with minimal recovery time, and the vast majority of patients do not experience a recurrence of their condition.
If you are suffering from entropion or ectropion, Eye Plastic Associates can help. Dr. Scott has years of experience with these repairs and can get your eyes back to looking and feeling their best. You don’t have to live with constant eye irritation — call for an appointment today!