Ectropion can have several different causes, including:

  • Muscle weakness. As you age, the muscles under your eyes tend to get weaker as the tendons stretch out. These muscles and tendons are responsible for holding your eyelid taut against your eye, so when they relax, the eyelid can begin to droop and turn outward.
  • Facial paralysis. When some of the facial nerves and muscles are paralyzed, as with Bell's palsy and some types of tumors, it can affect the eyelid muscles and cause ectropion.
  • Scars or skin problems. Scarred skin from facial burns or trauma, such as a dog bite or lacerations, can affect the way that the eyelid rests against the eye.
  • Eyelid growths. Benign or cancerous growths on your eyelid can cause the lid to turn outward.
  • Previous surgery, radiation or cosmetic procedures. Previous eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) can cause ectropion to develop later, particularly if too much skin from the eyelid was removed at the time of surgery. Radiation of your eyelid for a cancerous growth can trigger ectropion to develop. Even cosmetic laser skin resurfacing can shrink your eyelid too much, pulling it away from your eye and causing ectropion.
  • Congenital ectropion. Rarely, ectropion is present at birth (congenital), when it is usually associated with genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome.
  • Drug reaction. Certain medications, such as some drops used to treat glaucoma, may contribute to ectropion.
Jan. 19, 2013