Entropion is a condition that causes your eyelid to turn inward towards the eye, causing the eyelashes to rub on the cornea.
Also known as eyelid retraction, this condition is common amongst elderly individuals, and the lower eyelid is affected more often than the upper eyelid. It could occur in both eyes, and it will develop slowly, so you may not notice it when it is still in the early stages. As it progresses, however, every movement your eye makes will end up irritating the cornea.
If you don’t access treatment promptly, the abrasion of the cornea could result in scarring and infections. Loss of sight can also occur in the affected eye if entropion isn’t treated properly.
Only mild irritation of the eye may be apparent at first, as symptoms typically develop quite slowly.
As the eyelid continues to roll inward, you’ll notice the eyelashes start to scratch the cornea.
The repeated irritation can lead to redness in the eye, as well as eyes that are watery. You may also feel as though you have something stuck in your eye, and your eye may be painful or sensitive to wind and light. There may even be eyelid crusting as a result of mucous discharge, along with decreased vision.
Entropion is caused when the edge of one or more eyelids curves inward to allow the eyelashes to come into contact with the eye. It can be caused by muscles under the eye becoming weaker and the tendons becoming stretched. This muscle weakness is the most common way that entropion develops. Another cause is previous surgeries on or around the eye as well as scarring in the area. When the skin is scarred by surgery, trauma or damaged by things like chemical burns, it can change the eyelid’s curve and cause this abnormal shape.
Eye infections can also cause this condition. One of the most common infections that cause this in many countries is trachoma. This eye infection can lead to inner eyelid scarring that can create entropion. It is also possible for inflammation to cause this condition. When the eye becomes irritated from being dry or inflamed, this can cause the sufferer to keep the eyes tightly closed or to rub the eyelids repeatedly. This can make the eyelid muscles spasm and make the edge of the lid role inward. In some cases, a developmental complication, such as an extra skin fold on the eyelid, makes this condition occur at birth.
Treatment for entropion will depend upon the cause of the condition.
There are non-surgical options available that can help relieve your symptoms while protecting your eye from further damage. Temporary treatments can include stitches, skin tape, Botox, and soft contact lenses.
If an active infection or inflammation is causing entropion, the eyelid might go back to normal once you receive the appropriate treatment. However, the condition may continue even after you’ve treated the infection or inflammation.
In order to completely correct entropion, surgery is usually necessary.
In many cases, there is no way to prevent this condition. If it occurs in the elderly or is present in a newborn, there is generally no way to avoid entropion. In other cases, getting fast treatment for eye infections or inflammation can prevent this condition from developing. Avoid any situations that can cause eye irritation or injuries. Use eye protection around eye hazards like toxic chemicals. If you travel to places like Southeast Asia or certain areas of Africa, be aware of trachoma and develop a plan to avoid this infection with your doctor.