What is Ectropion?
Ectropion is a condition in which the lower lid is turned away from the eyeball such that the inner lining of the lid is no longer in contact with the eye. Remembering that the lids protect and lubricate the eye, it is no wonder that patients with ectropion complain of irritated, red eyes. Frequently the tear drainage system fails to function properly, and teary, watery eyes are the consequence. Patients with ectropion often make matters worse by wiping the tears away in a downward motion, thereby dragging the lid even further away from the eye. The inner lining of the lid is also exposed to the air, causing a thickened, red appearance to this normally glistening, smooth surface.
The basic causes of ectropion are:
- Age. Here the muscles that close the eye are stretched and fail to work as they did in youth. The lid drops and sags away from the eye. This is the most common cause of ectropion.
- Bell’s Palsy. Occasionally the nerve that stimulates the muscles on one side of the face is paralyzed. This is called Bell?s Palsy. Here the muscles are very weak and the eye lid droops. Usually this is a temporary problem and resolves over the following few weeks to months. Sometimes surgery is necessary to help protect the eye until full recovery takes place.
- Scarring due to injury may distort the lower lid causing an ectropion. Potential causes include burns, cuts, or infections along the lower eyelid.
Treatment is aimed at keeping the eye protected and lubricated with artificial tears and ointments. Sometimes infection is a problem, and antibiotics are called for.
Most often surgery is indicated to cure ectropion. The operation for this condition tightens up the loose muscles that are causing the problem. If a scar is pulling the lid away from the eye, a skin graft or other procedure may be very helpful in replacing the lid to its proper position.
Massage in the correct upward direction after surgery is helpful in some cases. Once cured, ectropion rarely recurs.
Do You Have Ectropion?
The best way to find out exactly what?s causing your vision problems is to make an appointment with an eye care professional. At The Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha, we will check your eyes thoroughly to understand the reasons for your vision problems. And we’ll explain your choices for correcting the problems.
Here at The Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha we keep up to date on new research and new treatments. Call 262 637 0500 today! to scheduled your appointment.
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