Ectropion is a “turning out” of the eyelid, typically occurring on the lower eyelid, where the skin of the inner eyelid is exposed either in one section of the eye or across the entire eyelid. This prevents tears from draining from the eye correctly, resulting in irritation.
While ectropion is most often caused by aging, it may also be a result of scarring around the eye, skin infections, facial paralysis, eyelid growths, or other injuries. This “turning out” of the eyelid often leaves part of the inner eyelid exposed. Due to this exposure, ectropion can create a number of other eye problems caused by irritation and improper fluid drainage.
The most common symptoms of ectropion include eye irritation and excessive dryness or tearing. The eyelids perform an important function in keeping the eye properly lubricated, and any malfunctioning of the eyelid will result in dryness or tearing. It is important to visit an ophthalmologist as soon as these symptoms manifest or if you notice your eyelid drooping, as continued irritation to the eye may result in more permanent damage or vision loss.
In normal circumstances, the upper and lower eyelids work together to protect the eye from external damage; however, entropion and ectropion are two types of conditions that prevent the eyelids from closing properly and can lead to severe damage to the ocular surface if not treated.
When you are seen by our board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon, they can assess and determine the best course of treatment.
The exact treatment method is dependent on the specific needs of the patient and the cause of ectropion:
Your eye doctor may recommend lubricating eye drops or eyelid tape for the temporary relief of ectropion symptoms. In order to protect the cornea and to alleviate long-term symptoms, however, most instances of ectropion must be treated surgically.
Ectropion repair is typically a brief, outpatient surgical procedure that is performed in our surgery center. Your eye surgeon will administer a local anesthetic and a light sedative. In ectropion cases that are caused by a weakening of the eyelid muscles, the ophthalmologist will typically remove a small area of eyelid tissue in order to tighten the tendons and skin around the eye.
In cases of ectropion caused by scar tissue or an injury, your eye surgeon will typically administer a skin graft to the eyelid in order to add healthy, supportive tissue to the area around the eye.
The recovery process for ectropion repair is fairly minimal. Patients may be advised to wear an eye patch for 24 hours following the procedure to protect the eye and may take over-the-counter medications to help with any soreness or pain. Your eye surgeon will also give you medicated eye drops and ointment to help encourage the skin around the eye to heal.
If you are experiencing symptoms of ectropion or another eyelid condition, please schedule a preliminary consultation. Our knowledgeable staff is here to answer all your questions about which procedure is best for you, and ensure you have the most comfortable experience possible. Make an appointment today at one of our eight convenient locations.
Or call 678-381-2020