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Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Definition

Ectropion is when the lower eyelid droops down and outward. This can lead to irritation and injury of the eye.

Causes

Ectropion and entropion are caused by weakening of eyelid muscles. This may be caused by:

  • The normal aging process
  • Infection
  • Scarring from a prior surgery or injury
  • A lump, cyst, or tumor on the eyelid
  • Problems with the nerves that control the eyelid, such as Bell palsy

Risk Factors

Ectropion is more common in older adults. It is also more common in people who have eye surgery or injury.

Symptoms

Eyelids help to protect your eyeballs and keep them moist. People with ectropion may have:

  • Sore, red, irritated eyes
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • A gritty feeling in the eyes

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. An eye exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

People with mild symptoms may not need treatment. Steps may be needed if the eyelids are irritating the eye or blocking vision. Treatment may include:

  • Taping the eyelid
  • Eye drops or ointment to keep the eyes moist
  • Botox injections to balance the pull of muscles

Surgery may be needed to return the eyelid to its normal position. It may be done if the eyelid is causing injury to the eye or blocking vision. Surgery may also be done for cosmetic reasons.

Prevention

There are no known ways to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Ophthalmology  https://www.aao.org 

American Optometric Association  https://www.aoa.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Ophthalmological Society  https://www.cos-sco.ca 

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

References

Ectropion. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/ectropion-3. Accessed May 18, 2021.

Ectropion. NHS website. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ectropion/. Accessed May 18, 2021.

Entropion and ectropion. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/eye-disorders/eyelid-and-lacrimal-disorders/entropion-and-ectropion. Accessed May 18, 2021.

Treatment of dry eye disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/treatment-of-dry-eye-disease. Accessed May 18, 2021.

Revision Information