What is it?
Ectropion is eyelid malposition. This means that the eyelid, frequently the lower eyelid, is in the wrong position. In the case of ectropion, the edge of the eyelid turns outward, which is easily visible when looking at the patient's face as you can see the reddish colour of the exposed conjunctiva, which should normally be covered by the eyelid.
Ectropion patients are very common among the general population. The most common are called involutional, previously known as senile, in which age is a determining factor. These patients are the paradigm of the sympoms.
The majority cause watering eyes, as the lacrimal punctum is everted and turned outward, which makes it impossible for the tears to reach the lacrimal duct to drain out. When the position of the eyelid is more altered, the excessive exposure of the eyeball causes, in addition, red eye and significant discomfort due to dryness, as well as obviously the aesthetic problem it entails.
There are three fundamental types of ectropion, each with diverse causes and different treatments.
- The most common is involutional, due to the passing of years and laxity at which these ectropions grow in the tissue.This fact, completely associated with ageing, means that the position of the eyelid against gravity can change.
- There is also paralytic ectropion in which changes to the functioning of the orbital muscle, responsible for closing the eye, affect the position of the eyelid.
- And the third type, perhaps the most common, is cicatricial ectropion, in which the eyelid everts due to the tractional action of the skin affected by a dermatological issue.
There isn't any prevention for most common type of involutional ectropion. It is the effect of a series of ageing processes that cannot be avoided, but if detected early on then side effects can be prevented.
Ectropion treatment is always surgery. One technique or another will be used depending on the aetiology of the ectropion, although it's always a quick, outpatients procedure with excellent results in the majority of cases.
Professionals who treat this pathology
Frequently asked questions
If the ectropion is not irritating me, can I leave it as it is?
In the initial stages, it is possible that the ectropion does not irritate your eye, other than there being some aesthetic changes of the eyelid turning outward. However, the eyeball does suffer in this situation, which is why surgery is always necessary.
Is the ectropion post-operative period painful?
Not at all. In most cases, there is an initial increase in tension in the lower eyelid which is not painful in any circustance, just slightly irritating for the first few days after surgery.