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Understanding the Difference Between Ectropion and Entropion

Doctor Consultation

How often do you think about your eyelids? If you’re like most people, probably rarely — unless they’re causing unpleasant symptoms. 

Your eyelids are extremely delicate, and they’re also essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. If your lid structure is compromised, you can wind up with painful symptoms and an increased risk for infections and other serious issues.

At his practice with locations on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in New Rochelle and Great Neck, New York, Rand Rodgers, MD, offers skilled care for eyelid problems, including entropion and ectropion, two problems affecting eyelid structure and function. 

If you’re having problems with your eyelids, here’s how to tell if either of these problems could be to blame.

Ectropion vs. entropion

Even though the names sound the same, ectropion and entropion are different conditions — but they do share some similarities.

For instance, both ectropion and entropion involve how the edges of your eyelids move when you blink or open and close your eyes. Both conditions typically affect the lower eyelids, and both can cause pain and other problems, including infections. 

The main physical difference between these two conditions is pretty simple:

It’s this difference that causes different symptoms — and requires different treatments.

Causes and symptoms

Both ectropion and entropion become a lot more common with older age, as the muscles and other tissues around the eyes weaken. Other possible causes include:

Determining the cause of ectropion and entropion is an important part of making sure your treatment is tailored for optimal outcomes.

Because both conditions involve the eyelids, they can cause similar symptoms in many people. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Because ectropion causes the lid to turn outward, many patients experience chronic dry eye symptoms. Left untreated, ectropion increases your risk of conjunctivitis and more serious infections.

With entropion, the eyelid turns inward — and with it, your eyelashes. That means your lashes can scrape your cornea with every blink you take. Over time, repeated lash rubbing can cause irritation and ulceration, resulting in a serious infection that can cause permanent vision loss.

Treating ectropion and entropion

Depending on your specific symptoms, Dr. Rodgers typically begins treatment with conservative options, like lubricating drops or eye ointments to lubricate the eye and relieve symptoms. 

For entropion, he might recommend a soft contact lens to protect the eye surface and prevent corneal abrasions. 

When these options don’t provide effective, long-term relief, surgery might be the best option to repair tissue damage so your lids function normally again. 

As a skilled ophthalmic plastic surgeon, Dr. Rodgers uses advanced techniques to repair damaged eyelids, restoring lid function and structure so you can enjoy better eye health.

Don’t ignore eyelid problems

Eyelid problems might not seem like a big deal, but without treatment, they can cause serious problems that affect your eye health and your vision. Getting prompt treatment is the key to preventing those problems and maintaining optimal eye health. 

If you’re having any sort of unusual eye or lid symptom, don’t ignore it. Call the office and request an appointment right away. We offer telehealth visits, too!

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