What is Ectropion?
Ectropion is when the eyelid, usually the lower lid, turns outward and sags away from the eye, exposing the sensitive surface of the inner eyelid. It’s usually caused by the age-related weakening of the muscles and tendons that hold the eyelid against your eye, so it’s more common in older adults.
However, ectropion can also be caused by growths, scars, paralysis, or genetic disorders. Without the lower eyelid in place, both the cornea and conjunctiva are left unprotected; the cornea is the clear front lens of the eye, and the conjunctiva is the tissue surrounding the whites of the eyes and inside the eyelid. Long-term exposure of the cornea and conjunctiva can cause irritation, increased light sensitivity, blurry vision, dryness, excessive tearing, and poor drainage of tears. If left untreated, ectropion can lead to infection and vision loss.
How is Ectropion Treated?
Short-term ectropion treatments include eye drops and ointments to protect the cornea and conjunctiva, as well as using a specialized type of surgical tape to hold the eyelid in place, especially at night. The only long-term treatment is surgery, which should be completed before permanent damage occurs. We remove a miniscule portion of your lower eyelid and tighten the tendons and muscles beneath the skin, pulling your eyelid up to rest in its proper place against the eye. Depending on the severity and the underlying causes, your procedure may involve a skin graft, scar tissue removal, or other work to guarantee your eyelid works as intended. Since this condition can cause vision loss, ectropion repair surgery is frequently considered medically necessary and covered by most health insurance providers.