Condition 101 About Ectropion

What is the definition of Ectropion?

Ectropion is the turning out of the eyelid so that the inner surface is exposed. It most often affects the lower eyelid.

What are the causes for Ectropion?

Ectropion is very often caused by the aging process. The connective (supporting) tissue of the eyelid becomes weak. This causes the lid to turn out so that the inside of the lower lid is no longer against the eyeball. It can also be caused by:

  • A defect that occurs before birth (for example, in children with Down syndrome)
  • Facial palsy
  • Scar tissue from burns

What are the symptoms for Ectropion?

Symptoms include:

  • Dry, painful eyes
  • Excess tearing of the eye (epiphora)
  • Eyelid turns outward (downward)
  • Long-term (chronic) conjunctivitis
  • Keratitis
  • Redness of the lid and white part of the eye

If you have ectropion, you will most likely have excess tearing. This happens because the eye gets dry, then makes more tears. The excess tears can't get into the tear drainage duct. Therefore, they build up inside the lower lid and then spill over the edge of the lid onto the cheek.

What are the current treatments for Ectropion?

Artificial tears (a lubricant) may ease dryness and keep the cornea moist. Ointment may be helpful when the eye can't close all of the way, such as when you are asleep. Surgery is very often effective. When ectropion is related to aging or paralysis, the surgeon can tighten the muscles that hold the eyelids in place. If the condition is due to scarring of the skin, a skin graft or laser treatment may be used. The surgery is most often done in the office or at an outpatient surgery center. A medicine is used to numb the area (local anesthesia) before the surgery.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Ectropion?

The outcome is very often good with treatment.

What are the possible complications for Ectropion?

Corneal dryness and irritation may lead to:

  • Corneal abrasions
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Eye infections

Corneal ulcers can cause vision loss.

When should I contact a medical professional for Ectropion?

Call your provider if you have symptoms of ectropion.

If you have ectropion, get emergency medical help if you have:

  • Vision that is getting worse
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness that is getting worse quickly

How do I prevent Ectropion?

Most cases cannot be prevented. You may want to use artificial tears or ointments to prevent injury to the cornea, especially if you are waiting for a more permanent treatment.



Cioffi GA, Liebmann JM. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 395.

Maamari RN, Couch SM. Ectropion. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 12.6.

Nicoli F, Orfaniotis G, Ciudad P, et al. Correction of cicatricial ectropion using non-ablative fractional laser resurfacing. Lasers Med Sci. 2019;34(1):79-84. PMID: 30056585

Olitsky SE, Marsh JM. Abnormalities of the lids. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 642.

Latest Advances On Ectropion

  • Condition: Severe Congenital Ptosis
  • Journal: PloS one
  • Treatment Used: Conventional or Modified Frontalis Muscle Flap Advanced Technique
  • Number of Patients: 138
  • Published —
This study compared the clinical outcome of using a conventional or modified frontalis muscle flap advanced technique to treat patients with severe congenital ptosis.
  • Condition: Canalicular Laceration
  • Journal: BMC ophthalmology
  • Treatment Used: Canalicular Anastomosis Combined with Bicanalicular Stent Intubation
  • Number of Patients: 142
  • Published —
This study evaluated the prognosis of lacrimal (tear duct) canalicular laceration after repair using canalicular anastomosis combined with bicanalicular stent intubation.

Clinical Trials For Ectropion

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 100
  • Start Date: July 1, 2021
Telemedicine Follow-up for Routine, Low-Risk Oculoplastic Surgery