Top of the page
Ectropion is an eye problem in which the eyelids and eyelashes turn outward.
The bottom eyelid may droop down so you can't close your eye completely. When this happens, your eyelid may not be able to protect your eye from infections and scrapes. This drooping can also prevent your tears from draining as they should.
Ectropion is often caused by aging. As people get older, the skin can sag. The muscles that control the eyelids weaken. Ectropion may also be caused by a problem with the nerves that control the muscles in the eyelids.
Your doctor can usually diagnose ectropion by examining your eyelid and your eye. Your doctor will check the health of the surface of the eye (cornea) and the lining of the eyelids.
When you have ectropion, 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.
At home, you can try artificial tears to relieve the symptoms and keep the surfaces of the eyes moist. You can buy artificial tears without a prescription.
To put in eyedrops or ointment:
If ectropion 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.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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 or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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.
Current as of: October 12, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.