What is Ectropion? Understanding This Common Eyelid Condition and Its Treatment


Ectropion is a condition in which the lower eyelid sags or droops away from the eye and turns outwards. Though not typically serious, it can be uncomfortable. Ectropion mainly affects the lower eyelid and can happen in 1 or both eyes.

The drooping eyelid can disrupt tear drainage, which can lead to eyes that are:

  • sore, red and irritated
  • water excessively
  • feel very dry and gritty
  • more vulnerable to bacterial infections, such as conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

If the drooping is severe and left untreated, you could develop corneal ulcers (a sore on the surface of the eye) that can affect your vision, though this is rare.

Ectropion is different from entropion, where the eyelid turns inwards, towards the eye.


Ectropion is usually diagnosed during an eye exam. The doctor may pull on the eyelids or ask you to close your eyes forcefully. This helps assess each eyelid’s muscle tone and tightness.


If your ectropion is mild, the doctor may recommend artificial tears or ointments to ease the symptoms. Surgery is generally required to fully correct ectropion. Sometimes a scar, tumor, previous surgery or radiation can result in ectropion. It is important for the doctor to understand how the ectropion formed in choosing the correct treatment or surgical technique.


The type of surgery you have depends on the condition of the tissue surrounding your eyelid and on the cause of your ectropion:

You will likely receive a local anesthetic to numb the area around your eyelid. You may be lightly sedated using oral or I.V. medication to make you more comfortable, depending on the procedure you’re having.

Your eyelid might seem tight after surgery but will become more comfortable as it heals. You can expect any swelling or bruising to fade in about two weeks.

If you have any further questions or would like to have your ectropion or any other eye related condition evaluated, please contact us.

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