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Entropion

Entropion is the turning in of an edge of an eyelid, causing the lashes to rub against the eye. It usually is seen on the lower eyelid.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Entropion can be present at birth (congenital).

In babies, it rarely causes problems because the lashes are very soft and do not easily damage the eye. In older people, the condition is usually caused by a spasm or weakening of the muscles surrounding the lower part of the eye.

Although rare in North America and Europe, trachoma infection can cause scarring of the inner side of the lid, which may cause entropion. Trachoma scarring is one of the three leading causes of blindness in the world.

Risk factors for entropion are:

Symptoms

Signs and tests

Your health care provider can usually diagnose this condition by looking at your eyelids. Special tests are usually not necessary.

Treatment

Artificial tears can keep the eye from becoming dry and may help you feel better. Surgery to correct the position of the eyelids usually works well.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook is usually good if the condition is treated before eye damage occurs.

Complications

Dry eye and irritation may increase the risk of:

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

If you have entropion, the following should be considered an emergency:

  • Decreasing vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Eye redness that increases rapidly

Prevention

Most cases cannot be prevented. Treatment reduces the risk of complications.

See your doctor if you have red eyes after visiting an area where there is trachoma (North Africa, South Asia).

References

Howard GR. Eyelid retraction. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.4.

Updated: 11/4/2012

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.


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