Normally the upper and lower eyelids rest comfortably against the surface of the eye. They help to protect the surface of the eye and keep it moist and lubricated with your tears. Ectropion happens when the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) turns out away from the eye. This can lead to drying of the front of the eye, which can cause irritation, redness, and a watery eye, and may increase your risk for an infection.
Different types of ectropion happen from different causes:
Symptoms of ectropion include:
Your child’s eye care provider will ask about symptoms, examine your child’s eyes, and do tests such as:
For mild ectropion, artificial tear drops and ointment may keep your child’s eye comfortable. More severe ectropion will require surgery. Your child’s healthcare provider may recommend surgery to tighten the eyelid. This may be done with or without a skin graft, often using a small piece of the extra skin of the upper eyelid.
Ectropion, if not corrected by surgery, gradually gets worse over time. Your child’s eyelid and eye may get more irritated over time. The opening of the tear drainage system in the inner corner of the lower eyelid may become scarred and shut, causing your child’s eye to water all the time.
Ectropion cannot be prevented. However, regular eye exams will allow your child’s eye care provider to start treatment earlier.