What Causes Ectropion?
Ectropion is usually caused when the muscles and tendons around the eye become loose and stretched or pulled in a certain direction. The most common reasons are age-related changes, but other possible causes include:
- Laxity of the muscles and tendons that hold the eyelid taught
- Chronic rubbing of the eye
- Chronic friction from long-term use of contact lenses
- Benign or cancerous growths that distort the normal shape of the eyelid
- Facial paralysis caused by stroke, tumors, or Bell’s palsy
- Scars from burns or previous facial or eyelid surgeries
- Prior eyelid surgeries, such as lower eyelid blepharoplasty
- Direct trauma such as a car accident could cause damage to the eyelid
- Genetic disorders, although this is fairly rare.
No matter the cause, ectropion should be treated quickly to avoid exposure and injury to the ocular surface. If left untreated, infection, scarring and loss of vision are possible consequences.
How is Ectropion Treated?
Ectropion is very treatable, and there is no reason for you to continue suffering from its uncomfortable effects.
Topical lubricating drops and ointments are typically the first line of treatment to help relieve the discomfort ectropion can cause. In some cases, topical antibiotic prescriptions may be sent to your pharmacy.
In most cases, when ectropion is persistent and does not resolve, surgery can be performed to correct the malposition. The kind of surgery your doctor selects will depend on what is causing the ectropion to occur. Because most cases are due to age-related laxity of the eyelid tendons and muscles, horizontal tightening of the eyelid should correct the issue.
Ectropion repair surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, so you will return home once the procedure is completed. Anesthesia involves a local injection to numb the area, and possibly light sedation. Thus, you should arrange a driver for the day of surgery.
Surgery to correct ectropion is very successful in the vast majority of cases. Recovery from the procedure may require you to wear an eyepatch for a short time as well as continue using eye drops or antibiotic ointment. You may experience some bruising and swelling which will go away over time. Any sutures may be removed approximately one week later. As you heal, your eyelid will get back to its normal function and the tearing, discomfort, or other symptoms you experienced will go away.
Is Ectropion Repair Surgery Covered by Insurance?
Surgical correction of eyelid malposition is generally performed as a functional (medically indicated) surgery. Therefore, most medical insurances should provide coverage for this procedure.
Consult an Experienced Ophthalmologist at Ocala Eye
Ocala Eyes offers board-certified ophthalmologists who devote themselves to your comprehensive eye care.
Our eyelid surgeries are performed by Dr. Sarah Kim. She is a board certified physician and surgeon who completed a residency in ophthalmology and fellowship in oculoplastics. This means the safety of your eyes and vision are a top priority during any medical or cosmetic eyelid procedure. Click here to meet your eyelid surgeon!