Ectropion refers to the turning or sagging of the lower eyelid outward and away from the eye exposing the surface of the inner lid.
This condition may lead to excessive tearing, dryness, and irritation in the eye. Ectropion may occur due to various reasons such as injury and facial paralysis. It happens most commonly because of aging-related muscle relaxation.
An Unpleasant Road to be On
Untreated ectropion can cause serious issues with the cornea, even leading to blindness. While lubricating the eyes can relieve symptoms but typically surgery is necessary to correct this condition. A large number of patients attain predictable results from the surgery.
Committed board certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak provides a wide range of cosmetic surgery procedures to patients in Houston, Texas, and surrounding locations in this majestic part of the country.
Ectropion Causes and Symptoms
The main reason for ectropion is tissue relaxation or muscle weakness that occurs due to the normal process of aging. The risk of ectropion development increases with age.
Upon blinking, the eyelids distribute tears that protect and lubricate the eyes. The tears drain the tear ducts within the lids. The outward turning of the eyelids impacts tear drainage causing various symptoms, such as:
- Excessive dryness
- Excessive tearing
- Chronic conjunctivitis (“pink eye”)
People with ectropion require prompt medical attention as delaying treatment can cause serious complications.
Ectropion Treatment Options
Scar Tissue Stretching
In case the ectropion involves scar tissue, the doctor may recommend stretching of such tissue. This entails steroid injections and scar tissue massage. But this procedure is not always effective.
Most patients require surgery which is typically an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia but may sometimes involve a hospital stay.
The surgeon removes a portion of the lower lid during the surgery. The procedure involves stitches below the eyelid or at the eye’s outside corner. For most patients, this procedure addresses the problem effectively.
In case the ectropion results from scar tissue, the patient may need a skin transplant (skin graft). The doctor takes some skin from behind the ear or the upper eyelid and attaches it to the lower lid.
Patients who have undergone facial paralysis or have significant scarring may require multiple surgeries to fix this problem.
The patient may need to wear an eye patch temporarily following the surgery as well as apply a steroid ointment and use antibiotics to prevent infection.
Cold compresses and over the counter pain meds can help with inflammation and discomfort. While some patients experience instant relief, others may find relief within a few days or weeks. A majority of patients do not have symptoms following treatment and surgery.
Conjunctivitis or eye infection may occur due to long-term irritation, excessive dryness, and cornea exposure. Other complications that may occur are:
- Corneal abrasions (scratches on the eye’s surface or cornea)
- Corneal ulcers (sores on the eye’s surface or cornea)
- Permanent blindness
- Impaired vision
In general, it is not possible to prevent the conditions that cause ectropion. But early treatment can help mitigate damage and prevent serious complications.
Caring female cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak receives patients from Houston, Texas, and other towns and cities in The Lone Star State for various plastic surgery procedures.
For more information on procedures and treatments provided by board-certified female plastic surgeon Dr. Kristi Hustak please call us to schedule a consultation at 713.354.5145 or click here. Offices in Houston, Texas.