Does your eyelid appear to have turned inward or outward? It could be an ectropion or entropion in your upper or lower eyelid. The origins of this eye condition vary, but it mainly affects people over a certain age. Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of ectropion and entropion of the eye.

What are ectropion and entropion of the eye?

The terms "ectropion" and "entropion" describe a malposition of the eyelids.

Ectropion of the eye

Ectropion is a malposition of the eyelid; it turns outwards and no longer covers the eye.

Entropion of the eye

Entropion is a malposition of the eyelid; it turns inwards, placing the eyelashes in direct contact with the eye.

Eyelid ectropion is a condition that can occur from time to time. This is known as spasmodic entropion. It can also be a permanent condition.

Most often, the lower eyelids are affected; however, it can also affect the upper eyelids or both. Ectropion and entropion can affect one or both eyes.

What causes ectropion of the eye?

The causes of ectropion of the eye can have several origins:

  • Facial nerve palsy, especially with Bell's palsy
  • A lesion following an injury or surgery
  • Blepharospasm, which is the involuntary closing or trembling of the eyelids

What causes entropion of the eye?

There are many causes of eyelid entropion:

  • Aging of the muscles and tendons of the eyelid in people over 70 years old (the most frequent case)
  • A lesion following an eye injury or surgery
  • A burn or an inflammatory pathology such as a conjunctival infection
  • Congenital entropion, which is seen mainly with babies at birth (very rare case)

What are the symptoms of ectropion and entropion of the eye?

The incorrect positioning of the eyelid in the case of both ectropion and entropion can irritate the eyes. The eyeball is no longer optimally protected, and the eyelashes create friction on the cornea in the case of entropion.

Here are the main symptoms of this eyelid malposition:

  • An unsightly appearance
  • A sensation of a foreign body in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Irritation and redness of the eye
  • A watery eye

If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen and affect the person's quality of life. Complications may also occur in the cornea with the risk of infection and ulceration.

What is the treatment for ectropion and entropion of the eye?

In the case of a temporary condition, such as spasmodic entropion, treatment may be limited to artificial tears and ophthalmic ointments. Treatment of ectropion and entropion is aimed at maintaining eye moisture and relieving irritation.

Surgery may be required if the sufferer cannot reduce the discomfort with this treatment. Entropion surgery is necessary in the case of corneal ulcers caused by the rubbing of the eyelashes. Ectropion surgery is helpful when it is preferable to reduce discomfort and for aesthetic reasons.

If your eyelid seems to have changed position or you have questions, make an appointment for an examination.