Eyelash Problems (Ectropion, Entropion and Trichiasis)
Eyelid and eyelash problems can be both painful and irritating, and may even damage your sight if left untreated.
The eyelids and eyelashes function as protective barriers. They keep foreign bodies out of your eyes and ensure your eyes do not dry out. So when eyelid and eyelash problems occur, they are best dealt with swiftly to avoid any potential damage to your eyes.
Many people encounter eyelid or eyelash problems as they age, but thankfully most symptoms are easily treated.
Symptoms of ectropion: outward-turned eyelids
A healthy eyelid hugs the surface of the eye, protecting it and keeping it moist. If the eyelid turns outward, it leaves sensitive areas of the eye exposed. This is often due to a condition called ectropion, which can result in a burning sensation, excessive tearing, giving a red-rimmed appearance to the eyes.
Aside from a change in appearance, ectropion may also cause some discomfort, including dry eyes and irritation. It is also associated with watery eyes.
Ectropion can be diagnosed with a routine eye exam. This condition does not usually go away on its own, and requires treatment by an eye care professional to restore the eyelids to their normal positions.
Causes of ectropion
Ectropion usually occurs when the muscles that hold the eyelids firmly against the eyes weaken with age. However, it can also develop as a result of scarring around the eyelid or nerve damage.
Symptoms of entropion: inward-turned eyelids
As with ectropion, entropion can occur with age and usually affects the lower eyelids. With entropion however, the eyelids turn inwards.
A healthy eyelid hugs the surface of the eye, protecting it and keeping it moist. If the eyelid turns inward, the eyelashes can rub against the eye, and cause significant discomfort. This is often due to a condition called Entropion, which can result in a burning sensation, excessive tearing, and unsightly reddening of the eye.
Entropion can be diagnosed with a routine eye exam. This condition does not usually go away on its own, and requires treatment by an eye care professional to restore the eyelids to their normal positions.
Entropion is usually accompanied by severe discomfort, as the eyelashes rub on the eyes. Not only is this painful and irritating, it can also potentially cause damage to your corneas, and should therefore be dealt with promptly.
Entropion is usually caused by age-related weakening of the muscles around the eyes, but may also be caused by scarring or nerve damage.
Symptoms of trichiasis: ingrown eyelashes
With trichiasis, the eyelashes grow inwards so that they constantly rub on the surface of the eyes, causing great discomfort. The most common symptom of ingrown eyelashes is a feeling of there constantly being something in the eye. Redness, itchiness, irritation and a sandy or gritty feeling in the eye are all common symptoms too. Sometimes the ingrown eyelashes are normal in size and colour, but they may also be very fine and colourless, and only visible with a magnifying glass.
Causes of trichiasis
Trichiasis is often the result of an eye infection or inflammation of the eyelid. However, it can also result from injury or scarring to the eyelid, or may simply occur with age.
Treatment for eyelid and eyelash problems
Thankfully both entropion and ectropion can be treated with relatively fast and simple eyelid surgery. Ingrown eyelashes can be removed, although a short surgical procedure may also be needed if they continue to grow back.
Treatment for eyelid and eyelash problems are generally simple and effective; however it is essential to choose an experienced oculoplastic surgeon such as those at Exeter Eye, to operate on the delicate areas around your eyes.