The soft and moist tissue (mucous membrane) that lines the inside of the eyelid provides a comfortable and healthy environment for the eye’s sensitive surface. When the lower eyelid turns inward, the rougher skin and eyelashes can cause discomfort and damage. Infections and scarring can also develop as a result of this condition.
Ectropion occurs when the eyelid margin (almost always the lower lid) pulls away from the eye. This leads to dryness and inflammation. Ectropion near the inner corner of the lower eyelid will cause the tear duct to be drawn away from the eye, resulting in chronic tearing. Infection and scarring of the eye’s surface may also occur as a result of this condition.
Eyelid retraction is caused by the upper or lower eyelids continuously opening too far. Unlike ectropion, the eyelid still lays against the eye but just opens wider than is desirable. This can cause light sensitivity, irritation, and dry eye. Although rare, scarring and infection can also occur. This is demonstrated by white scleral tissue showing above or below the colored circular tissue of the eye (iris).