Entropion is the turning in of an edge of an eyelid, causing the lashes to rub against the eye. It usually is seen on the lower eyelid.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Entropion can be present at birth (congenital).
In babies, it rarely causes problems because the lashes are very soft and do not easily damage the eye. In older people, the condition is usually caused by a spasm or weakening of the muscles surrounding the lower part of the eye.
Although rare in North America and Europe, trachoma infection can cause scarring of the inner side of the lid, which may cause entropion. Trachoma scarring is one of the three leading causes of blindness in the world.
Risk factors for entropion are:
- Chemical burn
- Infection with trachoma
- Decreased vision if the cornea is damaged
- Excessive tearing
- Eye discomfort or pain
- Eye irritation
Signs and tests
Your health care provider can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your eyelids. Special tests are usually not necessary.
Artificial tears can keep the eye from becoming dry and may help you feel better. Surgery to correct the position of the eyelids usually works well.
The outlook is usually good if the condition is treated before eye damage occurs.
Dry eye and irritation may increase the risk of:
- Corneal abrasions
- Corneal ulcers
- Eye infections
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
- Your eyelids turn inward
- You constantly feel as though there is a something in your eye
If you have entropion, the following should be considered an emergency:
- Decreasing vision
- Light sensitivity
- Eye redness that increases rapidly
Most cases cannot be prevented. Treatment reduces the risk of complications.
See your doctor if you have red eyes after visiting an area where there is trachoma (North Africa, South Asia).
Howard GR. Eyelid retraction. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.4.
Last reviewed 11/4/2012 by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.
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