Entropion and Ectropion are the two different types of eyelid problems that can cause discomfort and irritation of the eyes. They both mostly require surgical repair to avoid eye health issues and potential vision loss.
The main function of the eyelid is to save the eyeball by keeping it lubricated, by screening out and by clearing away small foreign bodies.
Aging, injury, infection, scars, certain tumors, and congenital anomalies can interfere with the eyelid's ability to perform its function, leaving the cornea (the front part of the eye) and conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that protects the eye) vulnerable to injury and infection.
Entropion is just a "turning in" of the eyelid. It typically occurs on the lower eyelid the skin and the lashes rub painfully against the cornea. The condition may cause the lid to turn in constantly or only at times when the eyes are closed tightly.
Entropion generally starts as a result of aging since the muscles around the eyes may progressively weaken. A contraction or relaxation of the muscles near the eye can be the reason of causing the lid to turn inward.
Other causes of entropion can include injury, congenital defect, skin infections and various inflammatory conditions. The patient can be at higher risk for entropion if he has gone through facial surgery or have facial scarring which affects the natural curve of the eyelid.
Lubricating eye drops can be used to lessen certain symptoms such as dry eyes. A limited amount of relief can also sometimes be found by using Botox, skin tape to hold the eyelid in place or strategically placed stitches.
But ultimately, entropion usually needs to be corrected through a small surgical procedure in which the eyelids are repositioned. In the procedure, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic and sometimes light sedation is provided as well.
For entropion due to muscle weakness, the surgery may involve the removal of a small section of the eyelid to tighten the muscles in the area.
At times, when the entropion is caused by scars or prior surgery, the procedure typically relies on a skin graft to allow a repositioning of the eyelid.
Ectropion is a "turning out" of the eyelid. It typically occurs on the lower eyelid, the skin of the inner lid is exposed, either in one section of eye or across the entire lid. Ectropion prevents the tears from draining from eye correctly and resulting in irritation.
Common causes of ectropion include age-related weakening of the connective tissue around the eye, sun damage, tumors, burns and the removal of too much skin during blepharoplasty.
In some of the instances, ectropion occurs as a congenital birth defect or as a result of facial palsy.
Artificial tears can help in providing temporary relief from dryness. But for full correction of ectropion, a quick surgical procedure in which the lid is tightened is usually necessary. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic and sometimes light sedation is provided as well.
For ectropion due to muscle weakness, the surgery may involve the removal of a small section of the eyelid to tighten the muscles in the area.
At times, when the ectropion is caused by scars or prior surgery, the procedure typically relies on a skin graft to allow a repositioning of the eyelid.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a local anesthetic. The operation usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on whether the operation involves both eyes.
The surgeon may need to remove a small section of the patient's eyelid where the tissues have slackened most. If the problem is caused by tight skin or scar tissue, the surgeon may need to use a skin graft.