Normal upper and lower eyelids close together tightly over the eyeball shielding it from external damage and stopping the evaporation of tears, which enable the eye to remain lubricated.
But ectropion and entropion are two conditions that prevent the lids from shutting properly.
These conditions may develop due to aging, or changes to the eye due to injury, infection, surgery, or cancer. Ectropion and entropion usually cause a visible deformity and other symptoms, such as watering, redness, or the feeling of something in the eye.
An oculoplastic surgeon can address cases of ectropion and entropion.
Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Hui provides advanced solutions for various eye ailments as well as cosmetic facial concerns to patients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella Valley, Riverside, Redlands, Yucaipa, Loma Linda, and surrounding communities.
Ectropion develops when the lid turns outward, causing the inner surface of the eyelid to become vulnerable and exposed to dust, dirt, other irritants, and foreign bodies. Additionally, it makes the cornea susceptible to abrasions, ulcers and drying.
Ectropion occurs commonly in the elderly and is most often associated with aging-related muscle and tissue weakening. This condition usually affects the lower lid.
Ophthalmologists recommend artificial tears, and lubricating eye drops to relieve some irritating symptoms of ectropion. Also, doctors may perform ectropion eyelid surgery to treat the condition.
This procedure involves the tightening of the lower lid and if necessary, the opening of the tear ducts to improve tearing. In certain cases, the mid-face may require elevation and (rarely) a flap or skin graft may be used for reconstruction.
Entropion develops when the lid turns inward, which causes the eyelashes and eyelid skin to touch the eyeball. The patient may experience this all the time or only when they blink or squeeze the eyelids shut.
Entropion typically causes discomfort and irritation as well as makes the cornea vulnerable to infection, damage, and vision loss.
There are some minimally invasive techniques to treat entropion, including the use of skin tape and Botox injections to temporarily turn the lid outward. If the condition occurs more often, doctors can address entropion via a special surgical procedure known as transconjunctival entropion repair.
This procedure is performed through the inside of the eyelid and involves eyelid tightening. In this procedure, the lower lid retractors are re-inserted, and a tiny strip of orbicularis muscle is removed.
How does Entropion or Ectropion develop?
This issue typically occurs due to aging. At times, it develops due to scar tissue pulling the eyelid out of position. In general, only the lower lid is impacted.
What does Entropion or Ectropion surgery involve?
The surgery is typically undertaken using a local anesthetic. The procedure takes between 30 minutes to one hour to complete, depending on whether the surgery involves both eyes.
The surgeon may need to remove a tiny section of the patient’s eyelid where the tissues have weakened most. In case the condition occurs due to tight skin or scar tissue, the surgeon may need to use a skin graft.
Recovery and Results
The patient should be able to return home after a few hours. They should be careful not to get the eyelid wet, perform vigorous exercise, or bend down until the sutures are taken out.
The patient should not wear makeup or consume alcohol for a few weeks and keep their face out of the sun. The outcomes of an entropion or ectropion repair procedure last for a long time. But as a person ages, the skin and soft tissues of the lids will continue to weaken, and the issue may recur in some cases.