Entropion is a condition where your eyelid or eyelids turns inwards against the surface of the eye and can be extremely uncomfortable and annoying.  This turning in of the eyelids can cause your eyelashes to rub against your cornea.  The constant rubbing can cause a lot of damage to your eye and cause damaging effects that can include corneal ulcers due to abrasion and a susceptibility to eye infections.  Left untreated, these conditions can lead to loss of vision.

With entropion, your eyelid may be turned in all the time or only when you blink hard or squeeze your eyelids shut and generally affects only the lower eyelid or eyelids.  Although anyone can get entropion, it is more common in adults over 60 years of age.

When both eyes are affected, the condition is known as “bilateral entropion.”

What causes entropion?

Entropion is typically related to genetic or congenital factors, scarring, spasms or the effects of aging creating loose skin and stretched and loose ligaments and muscles.  Its causes are also often dependent upon whether your condition is affecting your lower or upper eyelid(s).

Causes of entropion of the lower eyelid(s):

  • Age-related instability of the eyelid structures

Less common causes:

  • Chemical injuries
  • Previous trauma
  • Inflammatory disorders of the conjunctiva on the inner aspects of the eyelids

Causes of entropion of the upper eyelid(s):

  • Repeated cases of trachoma infection
  • Cicatricial pemphigoid (a rare inflammatory disease)

Entropion symptoms include irritation to the eyeball (cornea), eyelid squeezing, redness, watering (epiphora), sensitivity to light and wind, and sore eyes.  The irritation associated with entropion may lead to a cycle of ocular irritation.  These symptoms may be treated with artificial tears and lubricating ointments.  However, surgery is typically needed to fully correct the condition.

Entropion surgery involves a procedure to turn the eyelid margin and eyelashes away from the eye and is usually performed on an outpatient basis, under local anesthesia, in less than an hour.