Entropion can usually be diagnosed with a routine eye exam and physical. Your doctor may pull on your eyelids during the exam or ask you to blink or close your eyes forcefully. This helps him or her assess your eyelid's position on the eye, its muscle tone and its tightness.
If your entropion is caused by scar tissue, previous surgery or other conditions, your doctor will examine the surrounding tissue as well.
The treatment approach depends on what's causing your entropion. Nonsurgical treatments are available to relieve symptoms and protect your eye from damage.
When active inflammation or infection causes entropion (spastic entropion), your eyelid may return to its normal alignment as you treat the inflamed or infected eye. But if tissue scarring has occurred, entropion may persist even after the other condition has been treated.
Surgery is generally required to fully correct entropion, but short-term fixes can be useful if you can't tolerate surgery or you have to delay it.
- Soft contact lens. Your eye doctor may suggest that you use a type of soft contact lens as a sort of corneal bandage to help ease symptoms. These are available with or without a refractive prescription.
- Botox. Small amounts of onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) injected into the lower eyelid can turn the eyelid out. You may get a series of injections, with effects lasting up to six months.
Stitches that turn the eyelid outward. This procedure can be done in your doctor's office with local anesthesia. After numbing the eyelid, your doctor places several stitches in specific locations along the affected eyelid.
The stitches turn the eyelid outward, and resulting scar tissue keeps it in position even after the stitches are removed. After several months, your eyelid may turn itself back inward. So this technique isn't a long-term solution.
- Skin tape. Special transparent skin tape can be applied to your eyelid to keep it from turning in.
The type of surgery you have depends on the condition of the tissue surrounding your eyelid and on the cause of your entropion.
If your entropion is age related, your surgeon will likely remove a small part of your lower eyelid. This helps tighten the affected tendons and muscles. You'll have a few stitches on the outside corner of your eye or just below your lower eyelid.
If you have scar tissue on the inside of your lid or have had trauma or previous surgeries, your surgeon may perform a mucous membrane graft using tissue from the roof of your mouth or nasal passages.
Before surgery you'll receive a local anesthetic to numb your eyelid and the area around it. You may be lightly sedated to make you more comfortable, depending on the type of procedure you're having and whether it's done in an outpatient surgical clinic.
After surgery you might need to:
- Use an antibiotic ointment on your eye for one week
- Use cold compresses periodically to decrease bruising and swelling
After surgery you will likely experience:
- Temporary swelling
- Bruising on and around your eye
Your eyelid might feel tight after surgery. But as you heal, it will become more comfortable. Stitches are usually removed about a week after surgery. You can expect the swelling and bruising to fade in about two weeks.
Lifestyle and home remedies
To relieve the symptoms of entropion until you have surgery, you can try:
- Eye lubricants. Artificial tears and eye ointments help protect your cornea and keep it lubricated.
- Skin tape. Special transparent skin tape can be applied to your eyelid to keep it from turning in. Place one end of the tape near your lower eyelashes, then pull down gently and attach the other end of the tape to your upper cheek. Ask your doctor to demonstrate proper technique and placement of the tape.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have signs and symptoms of entropion, you're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating eye disorders (ophthalmologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
Before your appointment, make a list of:
- All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including the doses
- Symptoms you've been having and for how long
- Other eye conditions, injuries or surgeries you've had
- Questions to ask your doctor
For entropion, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do they require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- Can entropion damage my vision?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What are the risks of surgery?
- What are the alternatives to surgery?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Have you had any previous eye surgery or procedures on your eye or eyelid?
- Have you had any other eye problems, such as an eye infection or an injury?
- Are you taking any blood thinners?
- Are you taking aspirin?
- Are you using any eyedrops?