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Entropion is an eye condition in which the margin of the eyelid rolls into the eye. It usually causes pain and discomfort, because the lashes are dragged across the delicate surface of the eye when the eyelid rolls in. This condition is very easy to treat, and it is a good idea to get treatment early to avoid permanent damage to the eye. An ophthalmologist can very quickly diagnose entropion in a patient and provide temporary relief such as lubricating drops which can be used until the patient can come in for surgery to repair the eyelid.
Sometimes, entropion is the result of infection or trauma to the eye which damages the eyelid. In other cases, people are born with this condition. Some patients have eyelids which are persistently turn in, while others may have eyelids in a normal position most of the time, with the eyelid turning in when they sneeze, wipe their eyes, or shake their heads.
The key problem with entropion is the irritation caused by the eyelashes. People can experience itching, pain, and redness in the eyes, and they commonly produce lots of tears and start to develop vision problems over time. Sometimes, the cornea becomes infected because of the irritation. In infants with entropion, the lashes are usually soft enough that no major irritation is caused, but the infant's eyes may appear slightly irritated or teary.
The treatment for entropion is surgery. In the surgery, the doctor changes the structure of the eyelid slightly to pull the eyelid back out and keep it in place. The healing time is usually fairly quick, and relief from the irritation is immediate, as the eyelashes are no longer dragging across the cornea with each blink. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs in the wake of the surgery to treat infection or irritation and help the eye clear up.
Eyelid entropion is also very common in dogs. Many dog breeds are quite prone to it. Pet owners can identify the condition by looking for signs of pain and irritation, including redness, tearing, and thick mucus around the eyes. Because dogs cannot talk to report vision problems, it is important to be attentive to behavioral changes or signs that a dog is having trouble seeing. A veterinary surgeon can examine the dog to confirm the diagnosis and perform a quick surgery to repair the inverted eyelid and restore the dog's comfort and vision.