Entropion refers to a condition in which the eyelid turns inwards, causing the eyelashes and skin to rub against the eye surface, leading to discomfort and irritation.
People with entropion may have eyelids that are turned in all the time or only when they blink hard of squeeze their eyelids shut. Entropion is more common in the elderly, and it usually impacts only the lower lid.
The use of artificial tear and lubricating ointments can help relieve entropion symptoms. Surgery is usually necessary to fully correct the condition. If left untreated, this entropion can damage the transparent covering in the front portion of the cornea, eye infections, and loss of vision.
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 locations.
The signs and symptoms of this condition develop due to the friction of the lashes and outer eyelids against the eye’s surface. The patient may experience the following:
- The sensation that there is something in their eye
- Eye redness
- Eye pain or irritation
- Sensitivity to wind and light
- Excessive tearing, or watery eyes
- Eyelid crusting and mucous discharge
When to see a Doctor
The patient should seek immediate medical attention if they have received a diagnosis of entropion and experience the following:
- Rapidly increasing eye redness
- Sensitivity to light
- Reduced vision
The above are symptoms of corneal injury, which can adversely impact vision.
If entropion is left untreated for a long time, it can lead to permanent eye damage. Patients should start using artificial tears and eye-lubricating ointments to protect their eye prior to their consultation.
Entropion can typically be diagnosed with a routine eye examination and physical. The doctor may pull on the patient’s eyelids during the exam or ask them to blink or shut their eyes forcefully. This will help them evaluate the lid’s position on the eye, its muscle tone, and its tautness.
In case the entropion occurs due to scar tissue, previous surgery, or other conditions, the doctor will evaluate the surrounding tissue as well.
The treatment approach will depend on the reason for the development of entropion. Non-surgical treatments are available to offer patients relief from their symptoms and protect the eye from damage.
If entropion develops due to active inflammation or infection, known as spastic entropion, the lid may return to its normal alignment as the inflamed or infected eye undergoes treatment. However, scar tissue has developed, entropion may persist even when the other condition resolves.
In general, surgery is necessary to completely correct entropion. However, short term fixes can be helpful if the patient cannot tolerate surgery or has to delay it.
The type of surgical procedure that a patient requires will depend on the condition of the tissue around the lid and the reason for the development of their entropion.
In case the condition is age-related, the surgeon will likely eliminate a small portion of the patient’s lower lid to help tighten the impacted muscles and tendons. The patient will receive a few stitches on the outside eye corner or right below their lower lid.
In case the patient has scar tissue on the inside of their eyelid or have had previous surgeries or trauma, the surgeon may undertake a mucous membrane graft using tissue from the mouth roof or nasal passages.