Inward- or outward-turned eyelids are more than just uncomfortable or painful. Not getting treatment can lead to permanent damage to your vision. Read on for more information on these mostly age-related conditions and what you can do to treat them.
Inward-turned eyelids – Entropion
Entropion is a condition where your eyelid turns inward and eyelashes and skin rub against the surface of the eye, causing irritation and discomfort. You may feel like something is in your eye, experience eye redness or sensitivity to light and wind. You may have watery eyes or a discharge or crusting on the eyelid. This condition usually only affects the lower eyelid in older adults. You eyelid may turn in all the time or only when you blink or shut your eyes.
Entropion is most often a result of aging since the muscles around the eyes become weaker. Other causes include injury, a congenital defect, prior eyelid surgery, inflammation or skin disease.
If you have increasing redness in your eye, pain, sensitivity to light or decreasing vision, it’s important to seek immediate care as these are signs and symptoms of a corneal injury. Not treating this condition can lead to permanent vision damage.
Outward-turned eyelids – Ectropion
Ectropion also typically affects the lower eyelid, but it’s the opposite of entropion. This means the eyelid turns outward instead of inward. This condition prevents proper drainage of tears, wo it causes eye irritation and redness, excessive tears, pain, sensitivity to light, inflammation and a gritty feeling in the eyes. If left untreated, you could experience corneal abrasions, ulcers and eye infections.
Like entropion, ectropion can be caused by the weakening of muscles and connective tissues that are part of the aging process. Other causes include growths on the eyelid, scarring from burns or trauma, excessive sun exposure, cosmetic laser skin resurfacing, use of certain eye drops for glaucoma, facial paralysis due to Bell’s palsy or radiation of the eyelid to treat cancer.
Treatments for entropion and ectropion
Botox injections have been used to relax the muscles that lead to the inward rolling of the eyelids. But Botox and other temporary treatments such as artificial tears and eye-lubricating ointments are only meant to soothe and protect your eye before seeing the doctor. Surgery is necessary to correct entropion and ectropion.
If you’re interested in learning more about surgical treatment for entropion and ectropion or have concerns about other eye conditions, call (800) 676-5050 for an appointment at one of our several locations.