What is Entropion?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, September 2, 2021

Entropion is an eyelid condition that impacts the lives of over 1 in 50 of all adults. 

Have you ever had persistent eye discomfort that doesn’t improve with eye drops – you may have an eyelid condition known as entropion.

What is Entropion?

Entropion is an eye condition in which the eyelid— most commonly, the lower eyelid— turns inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the cornea, the front surface of the eye.

Entropion can be constant or intermittent, only occurring when you squeeze your eyelids shut or blink really hard.

Whether present all the time, or only on occasion, entropion can affect your quality of life. When your eyes are sore and irritated, socializing with friends, applying makeup, reading, driving and even watching television can lose their appeal.

Fortunately, entropion can be effectively treated to give you the comfort you seek and the appearance you desire.

Symptoms of entropion

The harsh rubbing of the eyelid and eyelashes against the eye’s surface can result in the following symptoms:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Sore eyes
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Excessive tearing
  • Mucous or crust around the eyelid

Contact an eye doctor near you if you notice changes to the appearance of your eyelids or any eyelid discomfort. 

SEE RELATED: What is Ectropion?

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What causes entropion?

  • Eyelid muscle weakness. This is the most common cause. As you age, the eyelid muscles and tendons begin to weaken and stretch out.
  • Previous surgeries or trauma. Eyelid skin that has been damaged or removed can affect the position of the eyelid against the eye.
  • Eye infection and scarring. Trachoma is an eye infection that can cause scarring of the inner eyelid.
  • Inflammation. Eyelid inflammation can cause you to rub and forcefully squeeze your eyelids shut. This can result in eyelid muscle spasms, called spastic entropion, and a rolling of the eyelid edge toward the surface of the eye and cornea.
  • Congenital condition. If the entropion is present at birth, it may be due to an extra fold of skin on the eyelid that leads to ‘turned-in’ eyelashes.

Who is at risk for developing entropion?

The following factors can increase your risk of ectropion:

  • Age, in particular above 60
  • Previous burns or trauma
  • Trachoma infection

Is entropion dangerous?

Entropion poses a risk to the cornea and can lead to ocular damage, infection and permanent vision loss, if left untreated. 

Seek emergency care if you have entropion and you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden vision loss
  • Light sensitivity
  • Increasing redness in your eyes

These are signs that your cornea may be at risk. Immediate medical attention is crucial to prevent permanent vision loss.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Dry Eye

If you have noticed any changes in the appearance of your eyelids, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you for a full diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

Persistently irritated eyes could be caused by an eyelid condition, the earlier you seek treatment the sooner you can start to feel better.