What is entropion?
Entropion is an eye disease characterised by the rotation of the eyelid towards the inside of the eye. This is the opposite of ectropion, a condition in which the eyelid turns away from the eye surface.
A bad position of the eyelids causes them not fit correctly when blinking and lubrication problems arise, as tears spread properly over the eye. Furthermore, in the specific case of entropion, the rubbing of the eyelashes against the cornea due to the rotation of the eyelid must be added.
If not treated in time, this disorder can cause severe corneal injuries.
It can also cause mucous discharge (rheum), great sensitivity to factors such as light or wind and, ultimately, blurred vision and visual problems.
On the other hand, constant rubbing of the eyelashes with the eye surface can cause you to experience discomfort, pain, redness, eye irritation, photophobia and even corneal ulcers (link), which, in severe cases, can be complicated by eye perforation.
- Lack of muscle tone: this is the most common cause and is due to the weakness of the tissues associated with the ageing process. As we grow older, the tendons and muscles responsible for keeping the eyelids correctly positioned over the eye lose strength and tension, increasing the risk of developing an eyelid malposition.
- Scars: due to previous surgeries, burns, trauma or diseases, such as trachoma (a very common eye infection in some developing countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East) or pemphigoid (autoimmune skin disease). These scars can change the position of the eyelids over the eye.
- Inflammatory processes: sometimes, diseases that cause inflammation of the eye area make you rub your eyes vigorously with the intention of relieving discomfort. This gesture can cause a spasm in the eyelid muscles and trigger a spastic entropion, as well as irritating stimuli of the eye surface.
Generally speaking, and unless it has already resulted in the appearance of a scar, spastic entropion usually resolves when the inflammatory pathology or irritation of the underlying eye surface that triggered it disappears. In some cases, botulinum toxin injections can help you get better, by relaxing the contracted muscles and allowing the eyelid to return to its normal position.
However, as a general rule, entropion can only definitively solved by performing corrective surgery, either to tighten tendons and muscles that have lost strength or to remove the scar tissue responsible for entropion. In this case, it is usually necessary for our oculoplastic surgeons to perform techniques that replace the scarred area with the patient’s own tissues and grafts.