Learning About Entropion

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The parts of the eye

What is entropion?

Entropion is an eye problem in which the eyelid and the eyelashes turn inward. This can cause the eyelashes to rub against the eye. It happens most often in the lower eyelid, but it can also occur in the upper eyelid.

Entropion is often caused by aging. As people get older, the skin can sag. The muscles that control the eyelids weaken. Other causes include infection or an injury to the nerves that control the muscles in the eyelids.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor can usually diagnose entropion by examining your eyelids and your eye. Your doctor will check the health of the surface of the eye (cornea) and the lining of the eyelids.

What are the symptoms?

When you have entropion, you may have a hard time closing your eye fully. You may feel eye pain. You may also feel like there is something in your eye. Your eye may feel dry. Or you may have watery eyes or tears that may run down your face.

How is entropion treated?

At home, you can try artificial tears to relieve the symptoms and keep the surface of the eye moist. You can buy artificial tears without a prescription.

To put in eyedrops or ointment:

  • Tilt your head back, and pull your lower eyelid down with one finger.
  • Drop or squirt the medicine inside the lower lid.
  • Close your eye for 30 to 60 seconds to let the drops or ointment move around.
  • Do not touch the ointment or dropper tip to your eyelashes or any other surface.

If entropion is painful or if it causes other eye problems, your doctor may talk to you about surgery. There are several surgeries that may help give you relief.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have new or worse eye pain.
  • You have new or worse redness in your eye.
  • You have symptoms of an eye infection, such as:
    • Pus or thick discharge coming from the eye.
    • Redness or swelling around the eye.
    • A fever.
  • Light hurts your eye.
  • You have vision changes.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.