Ectropion is a medical condition in which the lower eyelid turns outwards. It is one of the notable aspects of newborns exhibiting congenital Harlequin-type ichthyosis, but ectropion can occur due to any weakening of tissue of the lower eyelid. The condition can be repaired surgically. Ectropion is also found in dogs as a genetic disorder in certain breeds. Lower lid ectropion is a very common condition in older persons. Frequency increases steadily with age.
Defined as an eversion of the eyelid away from the globe, the condition is classified according to its anatomic features as involutional, cicatricial, tarsal, congenital, or neurogenic/paralytic. Surgical approaches are directed toward the underlying etiologic factors. Normally when you blink, your eyelids distribute tears evenly across your eyes, keeping them lubricated. These tears drain into the little openings on the inner part of your eyelids (puncta). When you have ectropion, your lower lid pulls away from your eye and tears don't drain into the puncta properly, causing a number of signs and symptoms: Irritation: Stagnant tears or dryness can irritate your eyes, causing a burning sensation and redness in your eyelids and the whites of your eyes.
The stagnant tears and dryness can also irritate the surface of the cornea, making you sensitive to light. Excessive tearing: Without proper drainage, your tears may pool and constantly flow over your eyelids. Many people with ectropion complain of watery or weepy eyes. Excessive dryness: Ectropion can cause your eyes to feel dry, gritty and sandy. Ectropion is a very common condition in older persons. It is more frequently found in men than in women, which may be related to men generally having larger tarsal plates than women.
Eyedrops and ointments can be used to manage symptoms and protect your cornea until a permanent treatment is done. Most cases of ectropion require surgery.