What Is Ectropion?

Published on April 10, 2017
Girl looking at camera

The eyelids play a vital role in the function of the eyes. These thin sections of skin are responsible for protecting the eyes from foreign items, including dust and debris. When a potential threat is detected, the eyelids will blink as a natural reflex to protect the eye.

The eyelids also lubricate the eyes by helping to spread tears and fluids across their surface to keep them moist. This ensures that they can properly function throughout the day. At night, the eyelids cover the eyes and keep them lubricated while we sleep.

Because the eyelids are so essential, any issues that may arise with them can lead to a slew of complications. Many of the complications are the result of the aging process and primarily affect older individuals. Ectropion is one of the eyelid conditions that most commonly affects older adults.

Individuals who suffer from ectropion experience an outward turning of the eyelid, which causes the eyelid to pull away from the surface of the eye and creates a gap between the eye and the eyelid. This gap leaves the eye exposed to potential threats and harmful foreign items and particles. Ectropion most commonly occurs in the lower eyelids and can range in degree from mild to severe. Severe ectropion extends across the entirety of the eyelid.

Ectropion is known to lead to excessive dryness in the eyes. Many people experience excessive tearing due to overcompensation from the body to lubricate the eyes. This can also occur due to the inability to properly drain tears from the eyes as a result of the eyelid pulling away from the eye and preventing access to the tear drains.

Irritation is a very common symptom, and many patients experience a gritty or sand-like feeling on the eyes. Excessive dryness as a result of ectropion can also cause damage to the cornea, which can lead to other issues like increased sensitivity to light and vision impairment.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for the first time, or if your previously diagnosed ectropion is undergoing rapid development, contact us to schedule a consultation with ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Stephen Laquis. Dr. Laquis will thoroughly evaluate your condition to determine the best course of action for your treatment.

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