Entropion is the turning in of an edge of an eyelid. This causes the lashes to rub against the eye. It most often is seen on the lower eyelid.
Entropion can be present at birth (congenital).
In babies, it rarely causes problems because the lashes are very soft and do not easily damage the eye. In older people, the condition is most often caused by a spasm or weakening of the muscles surrounding the lower part of the eye.
Another cause can be trachoma infection, which can lead to scarring of the inner side of the lid. This is rare in North America and Europe. However, trachoma scarring is one of the three leading causes of blindness in the world.
Risk factors for entropion are:
- Chemical burn
- Infection with trachoma
- Decreased vision if the cornea is damaged
- Excessive tearing
- Eye discomfort or pain
- Eye irritation
Exams and Tests
In most cases, your health care provider can diagnose this condition by looking at your eyelids. Special tests are not often necessary.
Artificial tears can keep the eye from becoming dry and may help you feel better. Surgery to correct the position of the eyelids works well in most cases.
The outlook is most often good if the condition is treated before eye damage occurs.
Dry eye and irritation may increase the risk for:
- Corneal ulcers
- Eye infections
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider if:
- Your eyelids turn inward.
- You constantly feel as though there is something in your eye.
If you have entropion, the following should be considered an emergency:
- Decreasing vision
- Light sensitivity
- Eye redness that increases rapidly
Most cases cannot be prevented. Treatment reduces the risk of complications.
See your provider if you have red eyes after visiting an area where there is trachoma (such as North Africa or South Asia).
Eyelid - entropion; Eye pain - entropion; Tearing - entropion
Cioffi GA, Liebmann JM. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 395.
Gigantelli JW. Entropion. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 12.5.
Review Date 10/20/2022
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.