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Alternative Names
turning in of the eyelid, inversion of the eyelid

Entropion is a condition in which the eyelid margin turns in against the eyeball, or inverts. This inversion causes the eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye.

What is going on in the body?
Entropion usually occurs when the upper or lower eyelid loses elasticity as a person ages. The eyelid margin tends to fold inward toward the eyeball.

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?
Symptoms of entropion include:
  • eye redness and irritation
  • the sensation of a foreign body in the eye
  • tearing
  • puffiness of the eyelid
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Entropion usually involves the lower lid, and can be caused by:
  • muscle spasms
  • inflammation or injury
  • complications of eye surgery
  • scarring from burns or injury
  • birth defects
  • changes due to ageing, as the muscles in the lower lid lose their tone
When there is involvement of the upper lid, it is usually related to long-standing inflammation. A common cause is trachoma, an eye infection that is present in many Third World nations and related to eyelid hygiene.

What can be done to prevent the condition?
Prevention of entropion will depend on the underlying cause. If the underlying cause is treated, entropion may be prevented. Wearing protective eyeglasses when working with chemicals or tools and when playing certain sports may help prevent eye trauma.

How is the condition diagnosed?
Entropion is diagnosed when the doctor uses slit lamp to examine the eye under special lighting.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?
If allowed to go untreated, the lashes irritating the eye can cause corneal abrasion, and possibly even corneal ulceration from secondary infection.

What are the risks to others?
Entropion is not contagious. If the underlying cause of the entropion is an infection such as trachoma, the infection may be contagious.

What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment of entropion involves taping the lid in such a way that the margin will not turn in until surgical repair can be done. Also, application of lubricating drops or ointment may be helpful with the symptoms. The surgical treatment involves procedures to tighten the muscles in the lower lid.

What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects to treatment will vary depending on the treatment used. Lubricating drops can cause mild irritation. The adhesive from an eye patch may cause skin irritation. Surgery poses a risk for infection, bleeding, eye damage, and allergic reaction to anaesthesia.

What happens after treatment for the condition?
Follow-up appointments may be necessary to evaluate how the lid and muscles have healed.

How is the condition monitored?
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the doctor.

Author: William Stevens, MD
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


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