As we age, our faces change in a variety of different ways. One of these changes includes loosening of our skin and, in particular, our eyelids. The lower eyelid is normally held tightly against the eye by two tendons, one in each corner of the eye. As the skin loosens, so do these tendons, which can create laxity of the eyelid. In some cases, as the eyelid becomes looser, it can even turn away from the eye, which is called an ectropion. Patients can then have a variety of different symptoms that may necessitate this being fixed.
The Top patient shows a very loose lower eyelid. With very minimal downward pressure, the eyelid is able to be moved almost down to the cheek bone.
The bottom patient has a visibly turned-out lower eyelid. The inside corner of the eye is being pulled away from the eye even without any external pressure on the lid.
What kind of symptoms does a lower eyelid ectropion produce?
The lower eyelid is responsible for a number of different functions, including protecting the surface of the eye, holding tears against the eye for lubrication, and drainage of tears away from the eye. When the lower eyelid becomes loose, or in extreme cases, turns away from the eye, symptoms related to these functions can start to occur.
- The eye can become irritated and red from exposure. Because the eyelid is loose or turned away from the eye, it cannot keep the eye closed appropriately, resulting in dryness and irritation, and in some cases, recurrent infections producing drainage and discharge.
- Dry eye symptoms, like foreign body sensation and more matter in the eyes when waking up, become common because the eyelid does not help lubricate and spread the tears over the eye.
The inside corner of the lower eyelid contains one of the tear drains. When the eyelid is loose or turned outward from the eye, the drain can no longer capture the tears normally. This can result in a watery eye, and in some extreme cases, tears streaming down your face.
How do you fix an ectropion?
Just as there are different causes of ectropion, there are different ways to fix ectropion. In most cases, ectropion repair involves retightening the lower eyelid tendons so that the eyelid sits tight against the eye once again. In some cases, if the lower eyelid is also being pulled down by the cheek, additional stitches to support the cheek may also need to be used. In cases of scar-related ectropion, skin grafts may also need to be used to provide the support necessary to tighten the eyelid.
Most ectropion repair can be performed in our office, though Dr. Dewan will discuss the most appropriate location for your surgery during your consultation. Typically, the surgery is done with just local anesthesia which makes for a comfortable, quick recovery.
Does ectropion repair cause scarring?
What is the recovery like?
Will insurance pay for this?
the best results.