Ectropion means that the lower eyelid is “rolled out” away from the eye, or is sagging away from the eye. Analogy: Imagine the lower eyelid as a tennis net. If the tennis net gets loose, it can flop in or out. Similarly, when the lower eyelid tendon gets loose over time due to aging (or other causes), the eyelid can turn in (entropion) or out (ectropion).
The sagging lower eyelid leaves the eye exposed and dry. If ectropion is not treated, the condition can lead to chronic tearing, eye irritation, redness, pain, a gritty feeling, crusting of the eyelid, mucous discharge, and breakdown of the cornea due to exposure.
What Causes Ectropion?
Generally the condition is the result of tissue relaxation associated with aging (involutional ectropion). Other types of ectropion are paralytic and cicatricial. Paralytic ectropion results from paralysis of the facial nerve or muscle weakness from prior surgeries or trauma. The eyelid is unable to close and flops out. Cicatricial ectropion results from tightness or scarring of the eyelid skin, pulling the eyelid outward. Common causes of cicatricial ectropion include chronic sunlight exposure, previous surgeries or trauma, and skin cancer