Learn 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.

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What are the causes of 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 of 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.

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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.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Ectropion?

The outcome is very often good with treatment.

What are the possible complications of 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.

What are the latest Ectropion Clinical Trials?
Telemedicine Follow-up for Routine, Low-Risk Oculoplastic Surgery
Summary: The investigators propose utilizing a simple telemedical protocol to allow patients to substitute the first post-operative visit with a remote survey that includes essential post-operative history, vision measurement, and photographs, all of which can be provided using a personal computer, tablet, or smart phone. The investigators have selected for this purpose a subset of oculoplastic procedures ...
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Efficacy of Intraoperative Brimonidine for Hemostasis During Eyelid Surgery
Summary: The purpose of this study is to observe and report the effects of topical ophthalmic brimonidine in oculofacial plastic surgery.
What are the Latest Advances for Ectropion?
Severe Bilateral Ectropion in Lamellar Ichthyosis: A Case Report.
Summary: Severe Bilateral Ectropion in Lamellar Ichthyosis: A Case Report.
The prevention and therapy of corneal ulcers in patients with large-area thermal burns.
Summary: The prevention and therapy of corneal ulcers in patients with large-area thermal burns.
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Characteristics and Outcomes of Glaucoma Associated With Congenital Ectropion Uvea.
Summary: Characteristics and Outcomes of Glaucoma Associated With Congenital Ectropion Uvea.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: August 18, 2020
Published By: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

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 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/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.