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Ectropion is a sagging or outward turning of an eyelid. It usually affects a lower eyelid. Ectropion often affects both lower eyelids. Sometimes it only affects one side.
Your eyelids help protect the outer portion of your eye. The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers your iris and your pupil. The conjunctiva is the thin layer of tissue that covers the inside of your eyelids and the sclera (the white part of your eye). The eyelids help keep your cornea and your conjunctiva moist with tears. This helps prevent eye irritation and infection.
When your eyelids turn outward, the cornea and conjunctiva become exposed. They can become dry, irritated, and even infected. This can lead to serious symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to vision loss.
Ectropion is caused by many things. There are different types that depend on the causes. Congenital ectropion is present from birth. Acquired ectropion happens later in life. There are different types of acquired ectropion. These are:
Increased age raises your risk for ectropion. Your child may be more likely to have ectropion if he or she has a medical condition from birth that can cause ectropion. This includes Down syndrome.
The symptoms are caused by the cornea and conjunctiva being exposed, and can include:
Sometimes, ectropion is part of something called floppy eyelid syndrome. With this syndrome, your upper eyelids may easily turn inside out. You may often wake up with an eyelid that has turned inside out. Floppy eyelid syndrome can lead to symptoms like those of ectropion.
Your eye healthcare provider will ask about medical history and give a physical exam. This will include an eye exam. Other tests are not needed to diagnose ectropion.
You may first use treatments such as:
Corneal infection leading to corneal ulcer is the most significant possible complication of ectropion and can sometimes cause long-term damage. If your cornea becomes scarred, light cannot pass through it normally to reach the rest of your eye. Corneal infection and corneal ulcer can significantly damage vision and require prompt evaluation and treatment.
Following your provider’s instructions after treatment may help reduce your chance for corneal infection and corneal ulcer. To decrease your chance of permanent vision loss, see your eye care professional right away if you have any symptoms of corneal infection or corneal ulcer. Symptoms of corneal infection and corneal ulcers can include:
Call 911 if you have rapidly increasing pain, redness, light sensitivity, or decreasing vision. These might be signs of a corneal infection, which might need immediate treatment.
Ectropion is an abnormally sagging or outwardly turning eyelid, usually the lower eyelid.
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