What is Ectropion?
Ectropion is a lower eyelid that is rolled or tipped outward. When this occurs, the lower lid appears to be sagging, and it no longer is in good contact with the surface of the eye. The eyelids are supposed to act like windshield wipers that lubricate the surface of the eye. When the lower eyelid is tipped outwards, it cannot lubricate the eye properly. The eye and eyelid begin to dry out and become irritated and red.Ectropion can cause the following symptoms:
- Redness of the eye
- Redness of the eyelid
- Dry eyes
- Blurry vision
- A scratchy or gritty sensation when blinking
- Mucus and crusting
- Difficulty closing the eye completely
- Breakdown or infections of the cornea
What causes ectropion?Ectropion can have various causes including:
- Age-related laxity of the eyelids
- Scarring of the eyelid or cheek
- Previous eyelid surgery
- Skin cancer surgery (Mohs surgery) on the lower eyelid or cheek
- Trauma or lacerations of the lower eyelid or cheek
- Facial nerve palsy / Bell’s palsy
How Does Ectropion Repair Surgery Work?
The surgery is done in a surgery center with IV sedation or in the office with local anesthesia. Ectropion can oftentimes be repaired by simply tightening the lower eyelid. Sometimes, additional procedures are necessary such as skin grafting, cheek lifts, anti-scarring injections, or laser treatment to scars. At the end of the surgery, the lower eyelid should be properly rotated so that it is in good contact with the eyeball. It can then lubricate the eye well and prevent redness and inflammation. The actual surgery can take from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Patients go home the same day and are able to have their eyes open immediately after surgery.
How does Dr. Lee customize an Ectropion Repair?
The proper surgery depends on the cause of ectropion and your individual anatomy. Dr. Lee has a variety of techniques to correct ectropion and will help you choose the best option to fix the ectropion.
Some patients need additional procedures to help their eyelids function properly in protecting and lubricating the eyes. If patients are interested in refreshing the appearance of the eyelids at the same time, they sometimes choose to combine ectropion repair with upper blepharoplasty, lower blepharoplasty, or other procedures.
Does insurance cover Ectropion Repair?
Insurance typically covers ectropion repair because ectropion aims to improve the health of the eye and eyelid. Without treatment, ectropion can cause discomfort, inflammation, dry eyes, and even affect vision.
What is the “down time” after Ectropion Repair?
As with any eyelid surgery, patients should expect some bruising and swelling for at least 1-2 weeks. Most patients look good by 1 month after surgery when most of the swelling is gone. The “final result” is at 2-3 months after surgery.
Patients apply ice to the eyelids for the first 2-3 days after surgery to reduce the swelling. There is minimal pain after surgery, and most patients simply use ice and Tylenol for any discomfort. Vision may be slightly blurry for a few days due to eyelid swelling and the antibiotic ointment. Patients can walk around the same day of surgery and do light activities, including using the computer or watching TV. They should avoid heavy lifting, straining, or bending for the first 2 weeks. Antibiotic ointment is applied to the incisions for the first two weeks. The sutures typically dissolve on their own.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you are suffering from ectropion, schedule your consultation today to get started with Dr. Lee. Fixing the ectropion will eliminate the discomfort, tearing, and annoyance and help you protect your eyes and vision.