Does your lower eyelid turn inward each time you blink or shut your eyelids really tightly? Or is it turned inward all the time? That’s a condition known as entropion. There are ways to have the symptoms associated with it controlled, but putting an end to it usually entails surgical correction of the problem.
Treating entropion is important. Otherwise, the symptoms it brings can become worse each time you blink or close your eyes, even putting your vision on the line!
According to eye experts, entropion can be due to many different things. However, all of these possible culprits share one thing in common, and that is the loosening of or damage to the structures that control the eyelids. They include:
- Aging. As the years pass by, collagen production wanes and the eyelids become slack. Because of this, the eyelids turn inwards.
- Trachoma. In developing countries, there is a common bacterial infection of the eye that is regarded as contagious, and it’s called trachoma. One of the many signs and symptoms of trachoma is entropion.
- HZO. Short for herpes zoster ophthalmicus, this is a viral infection of the eye. The virus responsible for it is related to the virus behind shingles and chickenpox. Since HZO can produce symptoms that are really painful and intense, it calls for some serious medical interventions.
- Surgeries. Eye surgeries can damage the nerves or muscles of the eyelid, causing it to weaken and end up turned inward.
- Chemical burns. Damage to the eyelid caused by a chemical burn can also give rise to entropion.
- Congenital defects. Some babies are born already with the problem.
Signs and Symptoms
Initially, entropion may not really cause the eyelid to turn inwards. Usually, it begins as some form of mild irritation of the eye. As time goes by, the eyelid begins to turn inwards. By the way, the lower eyelid is the one that is commonly affected. Also, only one or both eyelids may be involved.
The moment that the eyelid is completely turned inward, that’s when severe symptoms associated with entropion takes place. They include red, itchy and watery eyes. All of these are because of the fact that the eyelashes and the eyelid itself are rubbing against the surface of the eyeball, causing it to become irritated.
According to eye experts, it is possible for entropion to leave the cornea, which is the transparent covering of the front part of the eye, to become scratched and even irritated.
It’s exactly for this reason why having entropion makes it very much possible for an individual to lose his or her eyesight. Needless to say, it is important for entropion to be treated by an eye specialist.
Pulling the eyelid and taking it back to its proper position can provide relief from entropion, although temporarily only. Sometimes botox, the same substance used for making fine lines and wrinkles go away, is also injected into the affected eyelid in order to give it some tone, preventing it from turning inward. However, the effects of botox do not last forever, and so it needs to be injected once more after a few months.
Most of the time, surgery is the treatment of choice for entropion. It’s something that provides long-lasting or permanent solution. Another great thing about it is it’s usually done on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia only.
There are a handful of different ways to have entropion corrected surgically. One of them involves tightening the structures of the affected eyelid in order to keep the eyelid in its proper position.
Then there is also the so-called non-incisional entropion repair. Just like what the name says, there are no incisions made, but only strategically-placed sutures that help keep the eyelid from turning inward.