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Entropion and Ectropion

The eyelids normally slide up and down on the eyeball comfortably. Sometimes, however, this movement malfunctions and the eyelid can fold in on itself. It’s called entropion when the eyelid turns inward, and ectropion when it turns outward. Most of the cases involve the lower eyelid.

Entropion seems to be the more common condition. The most common cases are congenital. Muscle fibers may develop incorrectly, causing the eyelid to be weakened at birth. Aging is also a common problem. As you age, the muscle fibers are stretched and loosened; the eyelid is no longer able to hold itself in place. As a result, the skin sags and curves inward. Trachoma is a bacterial infectious disease that causes the inner side of the eyelid to scar and weaken. The scars cause the eyelid to move unevenly and become caught on the globe of the eye. Eye trauma can also cause entropion.

Most of the damage done by entropion is due to the eyelashes. As the eyelids turn inwards, the eyelashes begin to grow towards the eyeball. The eyelashes can scratch the cornea and causes decreased visual acuity and pain.  Since the eyelids do not close properly, one may be subject to dry eyes.