Ectropion is the turning out of the eyelid so that the inner surface is exposed. It most often affects the lower eyelid.
Ectropion is very often caused by the aging process. The connective tissue of the eyelid becomes weaker, which causes the lid to turn out so that the edge of the lower lid is no longer against the eyeball. It can also be caused by:
A defect that occurs before birth (for example, in children with Down syndrome)
The health care provider will make a diagnosis by doing an exam of the eyes and eyelids. Special tests are not needed most of the time.
Artificial tears (a lubricant) may ease dryness and keep the cornea moist. Surgery to tighten the muscles that hold the eyelids in place is very often effective. It may be done as outpatient surgery using medicine to numb the area (local anesthesia).
Robinson FO, Richard J, Collin O. Ectropion. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 12.7.
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 431.
Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.