As you age, one of the parts of your body that are most affected is your eyes. Older adults are more likely to develop common eye conditions like cataracts, dry eye syndrome, and glaucoma.
Another eye condition that can occur as you age is entropion which causes your eyelid to turn inward toward the eyeball. Keep reading to learn more about entropion and why your eyelids may turn in!
What is Entropion?
Entropion is a relatively uncommon but serious eye condition, affecting an average of 2.1% of older adults, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. When the eyelid turns inward, it can cause severe damage to the cornea, which is the front part of your eye, leading to eye infection and possible vision loss.
If you notice symptoms of entropion, it is important to contact your eye care provider as soon as possible. The symptoms of entropion are the result of the friction caused by your eyelashes and the outer eyelid rub against the cornea.
The symptoms may include:
- Eye Redness
- Eye Irritation or Pain
- Increased sensitivity to light
- The sensation that you have something stuck in your eye
- Excessive teariness
- Mucous around the eye and eyelid crustiness
What Causes Entropion?
While age plays a prominent role in developing entropion, often, the condition is brought on by an additional accompanying cause. Some of these causes are:
As you age, the muscles around your eyes weaken, reducing the elasticity of the skin. This can cause the skin to droop on both the upper and lower eyelids.
While entropion is more likely to affect the lower eyelid, it can also occur in the upper eyelid and more rarely, on both the upper and lower eyelids.
Certain types of eye infections can result in scarring on the inner eyelid, which can lead to the development of entropion.
Dry or Inflamed Eyes
Continuous rubbing of the eyes to relieve the discomfort of dry or inflamed eyes can lead to spasms of the eyelid muscles. This overactive muscle stimulation can cause the edge of the eyelid to roll inward.
Scarring Around the Eyes
The skin of the eyelid can be distorted by scars from past eye surgeries or traumatic eye injuries, like chemical burns.
What Treatments Are Available for Entropion?
The typical causes of entropion make it challenging to prevent. If you are diagnosed with the condition, there are treatments available to protect your eye from further damage.
The treatment that your eye care provider might suggest largely depends on the underlying cause of your entropion, but generally, surgery is the only way to permanently correct the problem. During entropion surgery, your eye surgeon will either perform a procedure to tighten the skin on your eyelid or a procedure that tightens your eyelid retractor muscle.
Both of these procedures aim to return the eyelid to its proper position. Entropion surgery usually only requires local anesthesia, and most patients are able to go home the same day as surgery.
The majority of patients are fully healed within two weeks of the surgery. If entropion surgery is not an option or needs to be delayed for some reason, there are short-term treatments that can help protect the eye from further damage.
These treatments include soft contact lenses to cover and protect the eyeball, lubricating eye drops, skin tape, or temporary stitches to keep the eyelid in place. Eye doctors may also recommend botox injections which weaken the eyelid muscles, preventing them from turning inward.
Seeking out diagnosis and exploring treatments options with an experienced eye care provider are the best way to ensure that entropion doesn’t lead to the loss of your vision.
If you are experiencing the signs of entropion, the knowledgeable staff at Shepherd Eye Center is here to help you protect your clear vision! Schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center at one of our 5 locations in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, today!