What is Ectropion?
Ectropion is a condition in which your eyelid turns outward. This leaves the inner eyelid surface exposed and prone to irritation.
Ectropion is more common in older adults, and it generally affects only the lower eyelid. In severe ectropion, the entire length of the eyelid is turned out. In less severe ectropion, only one segment of the eyelid sags away from the eye.
Artificial tears and lubricating ointments can help relieve symptoms of ectropion. However, surgery is often needed to fully correct the condition.
The type of surgery you have depends on the condition of the tissue surrounding your eyelid and on the cause of your ectropion:
- Ectropion caused by muscle and ligament relaxation due to ageing. Your surgeon will likely remove a small part of your lower eyelid at the outer edge. When the lid is stitched back together, the tendons and muscles of the lid will be tightened, causing the lid to rest properly on the eye. This procedure is generally relatively simple.
- Ectropion caused by scar tissue from injury or previous surgery. Your surgeon might need to use a skin graft, taken from your upper eyelid or behind your ear, to help support the lower lid. If you have facial paralysis or significant scarring, you might need a second procedure to completely correct your ectropion.
Before surgery, you’ll receive a local aesthetic to numb your eyelid and the area around it. You may be lightly sedated using oral or intravenous medication to make you more comfortable, depending on the type of procedure you’re having and whether it’s done in an outpatient surgical clinic.
After surgery you might need to:
- Wear an eye patch for 24 hours
- Use an antibiotic on your eye several times a day for one week
- Use cold compresses periodically to decrease bruising and swelling
After surgery you will likely experience:
- Temporary swelling
- Bruising on and around your eye
- Your eyelid might feel tight after surgery. But as you heal it will become more comfortable. Stitches are usually removed about a week after surgery. You can expect the swelling and bruising to fade in about two weeks.