Entropion: What causes it?

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Entropion: What causes it?

Question

What causes your lower eyelid to turn in toward your eye? Can it be treated?

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Answer

When your eyelid — usually the lower lid — turns in toward your eye, doctors refer to it as entropion. This can cause the skin of your eyelid and your eyelashes to rub against the front surface of your eye, including the conjunctiva (the thin mucous membrane that covers your eye) and cornea (the clear, front part of the eye), which can result in eye irritation. In severe cases, the lashes may scratch the cornea, resulting in infection, scarring or impaired vision. Entropion is most often due to the age-related weakening of eyelid tissues.

Entropion may occur intermittently. In such cases, you may notice that the lashes tend to turn in toward the eye with forcible blinking or when you tightly squeeze your eyelids shut.

Signs and symptoms of entropion may include:

  • Eye irritation, especially in the morning
  • Watery eyes
  • Redness
  • Discharge
  • Crusting of the eyelid
  • Sensation of something in the eye

Treatment typically includes:

  • Artificial tears or lubricating ointment
  • Plastic eye shield worn at night to retain moisture
  • Surgical restructuring of the eyelid

Temporary relief may be provided by applying transparent adhesive tape to the skin of the eyelid near the lashes and extending toward the upper cheek to prevent the eyelid from turning inward.

Entropion

Photo of entropion

Entropion occurs when the eyelid — usually the lower lid — turns in toward the eye, allowing the skin of the eyelid and the eyelashes to rub against the front surface of the eye.

Last Updated: 09/22/2006
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