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Definition of Ectropion
Ectropion – loss of elasticity or control of the eyelid, usually the lower eyelid, that causes it to sag away from the eye. Ectropion allows tears to overflow the lid rather than remaining in the eye.
It also fails to protect the eye, and especially the cornea, permitting dryness and exposure to environmental particles that create irritation and possibly injury to the cornea and sclera (“white” of the eye).
Common Causes of Ectropion Include
- Damage to the nerves that control the eyelids
- Cicatricial pemphigoid
Ectropion is a common symptom of Bell’s palsy, a temporary paralysis of one side of the face that results from inflammation of the seventh cranial nerve (facial nerve), and also may accompany neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
With ectropion the eye feels irritated and scratchy. Tear production becomes excessive as the eye attempts to lubricate and protect itself, and tears typically run over the lip of the lid and onto the cheeks. The doctor can diagnose ectropion based on its appearance.
Treatment is typically surgery to tighten the lid structure to permit the lid to stay against the eye. Whether the ectropion recurs depends on the underlying cause. Untreated ectropion may result in extensive damage to the surface of the eye and cornea, including infection, that interferes with vision and the health of the eye.