Normally the upper and lower eyelids rest comfortably against the surface of the eye. They help to protect the surface of the eye and keep it moist and lubricated. Entropion happens when the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) rolls in towards the eye. The edge of the eyelid and the eyelashes can rub against the surface of the eye and irritate it. If not treated, entropion can lead to long-term tearing problems and scarring of the surface of the eye.
Entropion may be caused by:
Symptoms of entropion include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your eyes. He may use a special microscope (a slit lamp) to look closely at your eye. You may also have photographs taken to document the way your eyelids look, which helps in your follow up care.
If you have mild entropion with few symptoms your healthcare provider may recommend treatment with artificial tear drops and ointment to keep your eye comfortable. Special skin tape can help pull the edge of your lid and eyelashes away from the surface of your eye. Place one end of the tape just below your eyelid in the middle. Pull down gently so that the eyelid is in a normal position. Then attach the other end of the tape to your cheek. Your healthcare provider can show you how to apply the tape. These treatments make your eye feel better, but do not correct the problem.
If it is caused by a spasm, ectropion may be treated with BOTOX injections in the eyelid.
For more severe entropion your healthcare provider may put stitches in the eyelid to try to keep it from rolling in against your eye or may recommend surgery to tighten the eyelid. Your healthcare provider may also recommend the removal of several eyelashes to prevent them from irritating the cornea. This can be done with special tweezers, heat treatment or laser treatment.
Entropion does not go away by itself. If entropion is not treated, your eyelid and eye may get more irritated. It can lead to a corneal abrasion or an ulcer. Sometimes, entropion will come back after surgery, and you may need to have more than one surgery.
Entropion cannot be prevented. However, regular eye exams will allow your eye care provider to start treatment earlier.