Ectropion (saggy, outward facing lower lid) is when the lower eyelid turns outwards so that the edge of the lid flops away from the eyeball. The lining of the lower eyelid may become red and swollen due to exposure to the there and there may be mucous discharge and crusting of the lids. The affected eye may become watery because the tear drainage tube in the lid is no longer in the right position to collect the tears.
The most commonest causes of ectropion is ageing, where the eyelid becomes saggy. Constant wiping from the associated watery eye may then pull the lid further away from the eye. Ectropion may also develop from neurological conditions, for example Bell’s palsy. Any condition that tightens the skin around the lower lid can also lead to an ectropion as the lid is pulled outwards.
The most obvious sign of an ectropion is a saggy, outward facing lower lid. From this the lower lid may look red and swollen. Patients may complain of an irritated, gritty/sandy feeling, burning sensation, mucous build-up and/or excessive tearing.
Artificial tear eye drops and ointments to lubricate the eye can temporarily relieve the symptoms of an ectropion; however, eyelid surgery to tighten the lower lid is usually necessary to fully correct this problem. There are a few different surgical approaches available and your ophthalmologist will discuss the best option for you at your consultation.
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