Entropion is a condition in which the eyelid margin turns in against the eyeball, or inverts. This inversion causes the eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye.
Entropion usually occurs when the upper or lower eyelid loses elasticity as a person ages. The eyelid margin tends to fold inward toward the eyeball.
Symptoms of entropion include: eye redness and irritationthe sensation of a foreign body in the eyetearingpuffiness of the eyelid
Entropion usually involves the lower lid, and can be caused by: muscle spasmsinflammation or injurycomplications of eye surgeryscarring from burns or injurybirth defectschanges due to aging, as the muscles in the lower lid lose their tone
When there is involvement of the upper lid, it is usually related to long-standing inflammation. A common cause is trachoma, an eye infection that is present in many Third World nations and related to eyelid hygiene.
Prevention of entropion will depend on the underlying cause. If the underlying cause is treated, entropion may be prevented. Wearing protective eyeglasses when working with chemicals or tools and when playing certain sports may help prevent eye trauma.
Entropion is diagnosed when the healthcare professional uses a slit lamp to examine the eye under special lighting.
If allowed to go untreated, the lashes irritating the eye can cause corneal abrasion, and possibly even corneal ulceration from secondary infection.
Entropion is not contagious even though the redness from the inturned lashes might suggest infections of the conjunctiva or the white of the eye (sclera).
Treatment of entropion involves taping the lid in such a way that the margin will not turn in until surgical repair can be done. In addition, application of lubricating drops or ointment may be helpful with the symptoms. The definitive cure is surgery, which is usually performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient. The surgical treatment involves procedures to tighten the muscles in the lower lid.
Side effects to treatment will vary depending on the treatment used. Lubricating drops can cause mild irritation. The adhesive from an eye patch may cause skin irritation.,Surgery can be complicated by infection, bleeding, eye damage, or reactions to anesthesia.
Follow-up appointments may be necessary to evaluate how the lid and muscles have healed.
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.
Professional Guide to Signs and Symptoms, Springhouse, 1997
Taber's Medical Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Davis, 1993