What Is Ectropion and How Is It Treated?

Published on July 24, 2017

Ectropion is a condition that affects the tissue around the eyes, specifically the lower eyelids. The part of your eyelid that looks like it forms a seal at the base of the eyes might sag outward, leaving the underside of the curvature of the eyes exposed.

Apart from making the sufferer look like they are sick, this sagging also leaves a part of the eyes open to the elements. The eyes need to be kept moist and warm at all times. Ectropion causes an imbalance in the eye’s chemistry and leaves it dry and irritable. Since it dries out the eyes, more tears are produced than is needed, so there is also constant tearing in the eyes.


The most common cause of ectropion is aging and the subsequent decline in muscle elasticity. Other causes include injury, strokes, paralysis, and diseases that can affect muscle function.

Ectropion is a serious condition that must be treated right away. If left untreated, it is likely to cause damage to the eyes and in many cases blindness in the long run. While simple eye lubricants can be used to ease the discomfort, eye surgery is recommended as a permanent fix.

Treatment Options

Ectropion can be treated easily if the patient seeks treatment early on. Surgery is the most effective treatment method, and there are a few other methods that can be utilized if surgery is not preferred. Dr. Sami is well-versed in a variety of treatment options.

Scar stretching is one such option with varying degrees of success. It works quite well for some and is not as effective on others. Stretching also works only when the ectropion is caused by scar tissue.

The stretching process involves injecting a steroid solution into the region and then massaging it in. Eventually, the scar is expected to soften up and regain its lost elasticity. The treatment takes a lot more time and effort to complete when compared to surgery.

Surgery to Treat Ectropion at Houston Oculofacial Plastic Surgery

For the most part, doctors are inclined to recommend surgery for ectropion treatment, as it is easier to perform and offers much better results than other methods. The procedure is quick and does not require a hospital stay – it can be performed as an outpatient procedure in about an hour or so.

During the procedure, a part of the eyelid will be removed from the underside, and then a few stitches will be applied between the eyelid and the lower corner of the eye. In a majority of the cases, this process works to solve the issue.

If there is any underlying scar tissue, then there might be a need to create a graft. Skin for this graft can be taken out of the upper eyelid and placed in the lower eyelid. If that does not work or if the upper eyelid does not have enough skin to spare, skin can be taken out from behind the ear for a graft.

Ectropion is easily reversible, so it is imperative that it be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

Get In Touch to Arrange Your Consultation

Interested in learning more about the ectropion treatment methods that we offer? If so, contact Houston Oculofacial Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mirwat Sami. Dr. Sami, a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has years of experience and will be happy to discuss the condition in further detail.