Entropion is when your eyelid and eyelashes turn inwards and rub against the surface of your eyeball.
Entropion is a condition that can affect one or both of your eyelids, usually the lower ones. If you have entropion, the edge of your eyelid and eyelashes turn inwards and rub against the surface of your eye. The areas of your eye most affected are your cornea (the clear dome at the front of your eye) and your conjunctiva (the transparent layer that covers the white of your eye and lines your eyelids).
Entropion can affect any age group but it's more common in older adults.
Common symptoms of entropion include:
If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP for advice.
If your cornea becomes dry and irritated, you may get corneal ulceration (a sore on your cornea). Your eye may become red and painful; you may find bright lights uncomfortable and have blurred vision. A corneal ulcer may become infected and can cause loss of sight, so it's important to see your GP immediately if you have these symptoms.
There are a number of possible causes of entropion. Some of the main ones are listed below.
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine your eyes. He or she will probably be able to diagnose entropion from your symptoms and a physical examination.
Your GP or optician may refer you to an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specialises in eye health, including eye surgery).
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your entropion and how severe it is.
Using surgical or waterproof tape to tape your eyelid to the skin of your cheek can be an effective way to ease your symptoms. Your doctor will show you how to apply the tape and you will need to change it regularly when the tension of the tape eases.
Wearing therapeutic contact lenses can help to protect your cornea from your eyelashes rubbing against it.
Your GP may advise you to use artificial tears or medicines to keep your eyes moist and ease your symptoms. You can buy these from your pharmacist. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice.
If your entropion is caused by muscle spasms, your doctor may suggest an injection of Botulinum A toxin. This weakens the muscles that are in spasm and lasts a few months.
There are different types of operation you can have depending on the cause of your entropion.
Sometimes a few stitches (sutures) are used to pull your eyelid into the correct position. This may be done as a temporary measure before you have surgery to repair the entropion.
The aim of surgery is to tighten your eyelid and its attachments, in order to return it to its normal position. This procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthesia in the hospital outpatient department. The anaesthetic completely blocks feeling from the eye area and you will stay awake during the procedure.
After your operation, you may need to wear an eye patch overnight. You may be given an antibiotic ointment to use for about a week.
Produced by Dylan Merkett, Health Information Team, September 2012.
For answers to frequently asked questions on this topic, see FAQs.
For sources and links to further information, see Resources.
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