Ectropion is the condition that causes the eversion of the lower eyelid and its loosening away from the eye. Lower eyelid ectropion is more common in older people and can affect the whole eyelid or part of it
Symptoms widely depend on the type of ectropion and may include the following:
- Lacrimation (it is the most common symptom of ectropion)
- Irritation, redness and pain in the eyes
In rare occasions, ectropion can lead to infection of the cornea and become a real danger to eyesight.
The most common cause of ectropion is the general loosening of the tissues around the eye, which could also lead to the eversion of the eyelid away from the eye. Other disorders, such as trauma of the lower eyelid and contraction of the lower eyelid, e.g. following the appearance of herpes zoster or certain dermal conditions, e.g. allergic dermatitis, can also cause an ectropion. Finally, there is the so-called paralytic ectropion, which is caused by a malfunction of the facial nerve (as in Bell’s paralysis or the facial palsy).
Ectropion treatment depends on the underlying cause. Usually, surgery may be required, during which the lower eyelid is stretched at the outer corner of the eyelids. This is performed with local anesthesia and takes approximately 30 minutes. After the operation, the eye usually stays closed for one day until the swelling is reduced and the patient is required to use antibiotic drops or an ointment for 2 weeks. A repeat examination in the clinic is scheduled for two weeks later to examine the position of the eyelid and remove the stitches.