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Ectropionback to conditionsback to procedures

What is an ectropion?

Ectropion is the medical term used to describe sagging and outward turning of the lower eyelid and eyelashes.  This can lead to excessive watering, crusting of the eyelid, mucous discharge and irritation of the eye.

What are the causes for this condition?

Most cases of ectropion are due to relaxation of the tissues of the eyelid as a result of ageing.  Some cases result from scarring of the eyelid caused by chemical and thermal burns, trauma, skin cancers or previous eyelid surgery.  A small number of cases occur due to paralysis of the facial nerve e.g. Bellís palsy, after surgery, stroke etc.

How is this condition managed?

Ectropion should be repaired surgically to prevent damage to the cornea caused by infection and scarring.  Prior to surgery the eye can be protected by using lubricating drops and ointment.  The surgery to repair ectropion is usually performed under local anaesthesia with or without sedation as a day case.  In most cases your doctor will tighten the eyelid.  You may have a patch overnight and then will commonly use an antibiotic drop or ointment for about 2-4 weeks.  After your eyelids heal your eye will feel comfortable, reducing the risk of infection and loss of vision.  You will have stitches that might have to be removed.

Are there any risks or side effects of the operation?

    There may be bruising around the eye.

    There is a small risk of infection of the eyelid or eye.

    There is a possibility of recurrence of over correction of the eyelid which may require a further operation.

    You may end up with a scar.

    There is a risk of asymmetry.

 What are the benefits?

     Relief of symptoms.

    Reduction of risk of eye infection.

    Restoration of the normal appearance of the eyelid.