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Entropion is a condition in which the lower eyelid turns inward, rubbing against the eye. Entropion occurs most commonly as a result of aging. Infection and scarring inside the eyelid are other causes of entropion. When the eyelid turns inward, the eyelashes and skin rub against the eye, making it red, irritated and sensitive to light and wind. Over time, many people develop excess eyelid skin. Eyelid skin is the thinnest skin of the body, so it is more likely to stretch. In the upper eyelid, this stretched skin may limit the field of vision, and may produce a feeling of heaviness and a tired appearance. In the lower eyelid, "bags" form. The excess skin in the upper eyelids can be removed surgically to improve the field of vision and other symptoms. Removal of the excess skin in either the upper or lower eyelids may improve appearance. If any fatty tissue is present, it may be removed at the same time.

Complications of Entropion

Corneal dryness and irritation may increase the risk of:

  • Corneal abrasions
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Eye infections

Causes of Entropion

Entropion can be present at birth (congenital).

In babies, it rarely causes problems because the lashes are very soft and do not easily damage the cornea. In older people, the condition is usually caused by a spasm and weakening of the muscles surrounding the lower part of the eye. This causes the lid to turn inward.

Although rare in North America and Europe, trachoma infection can cause scarring of the inner side of the lid, which may cause entropion. Trachoma scarring is one of the three leading causes of blindness in the world.

Risk factors for entropion are:

  • Aging
  • Chemical burn
  • Infection with trachoma

Signs & Symptoms of Entropion

Symptoms of entropion include:

  • Redness and pain around the eye
  • Sensitivity to light and wind
  • Sagging skin around the eye
  • Excessive tearing
  • Decreased vision, especially if the cornea is damaged

Diagnosis of Entropion

A physical examination of the eyes and eyelids confirms the diagnosis. Special tests are usually not necessary.

Treatments of Entropion

  • Artificial tears (a lubricant) may provide relief from dryness and keep the cornea lubricated. Surgery to correct the position of the eyelids is usually effective.
  • Severe cases may need surgery to protect the eye.

Prevention of Entropion

  • Most cases are not preventable. Treatment reduces the risk of complications.
  • People who have recently traveled to an area where there is trachoma should seek treatment if they have red eyes.

When to seek Medical Advice

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

  • Your eyelids turn inward
  • You constantly feel as though there is a foreign body in the eye

If you have entropion, the following should be considered an emergency:

  • Decreasing vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Rapidly increasing redness

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