Ectropion (Eyelid Turning Out)
What are the symptoms of ectropion?
Patients with ectropion may or may not be aware of their condition. In cases of severe ectropion, the patient may have a visibly “turned-out” eyelid, making the delicate internal lining of the eyelid visible. Common symptoms are usually related to eye discomfort, such as red or dry eyes that feel irritated. Symptoms also commonly include tearing and difficulty closing the eye completely. Milder cases of ectropion may have similar symptoms but the eyelid may only appear slightly droopy or loose.
What are the causes of ectropion?
There are many different causes and types of ectropion. The majority of ectropion cases result from “involutional” or age-related change, where the lower eyelid becomes loose or floppy, causing the lid to fall away from the surface of the eye. Ectropion can also be from “cicatricial” changes or scarring of the face and lower eyelid after previous lower eyelid surgery or secondary to sun damage. These previous scars can pull down the eyelid and tether it into an abnormal position. An additional common cause for lower eyelid ectropion is a “paralytic” cause, due to dysfunction of the facial nerve supplying the muscles of the face and eyelids that leads to decreased tone of the eyelid.
How is ectropion treated?
There are several different treatment options for ectropion, and treatment is tailored to the individual patient’s needs. In general, ectropion repair surgery requires tightening of the lower eyelid at the outside corner of the eye. Tightening the eyelid can be combined with opening the tear ducts to improve tearing symptoms.
Ectropion repair surgery can also be performed with lower blepharoplasty when indicated. Some types of ectropion may require mid-face elevation at the same time and rarely a skin graft or flap reconstruction.
Ectropion repair is usually covered by insurance and can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
Do you have symptoms of ectropion? Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors for an evaluation and to learn more.