Entropion

The CMGs are guidelines on the diagnosis and management of a range of common and rare, but important, eye conditions that present with varying frequency in primary and first contact care.

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Aetiology

  • Inward rotation of the tarsus and lid margin, causing the lashes to come into contact with the ocular surface
  • Most cases have a single aetiology but in some are multi-factorial
  • Involutional (age-related)
  • Commonest cause of entropion, affects lower lid (occurs in approx. 2% of the elderly population)
  • Results from a combination of age related degenerations
    • horizontal lid laxity resulting from thinning and atrophy of the tarsus and the canthal tendons
    • weakness of the lower lid retractors
    • overriding of the preseptal over the pre-tarsal portion of the orbicularis oculi muscle, at the lid margin. This causes inward rotation of the tarsal plate on lid closure
  • Cicatricial
    • Severe scarring and contraction of the palpebral conjunctiva pulls the lid margin inwards (ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, trachoma, chemical burns, post-operative complication)
  • Spastic
    • Caused by spastic contraction of the orbicularis muscle triggered by ocular irritation (including surgery) or due to essential blepharospasm. Usually resolves spontaneously once the cause has been removed
  • Congenital
    • Very rare entropion of the lower lid due to improper attachment of the retractor muscles to the inferior border of the tarsal plate

Predisposing factors

  • Age-related degenerative changes in the lid
  • Severe cicatrising disease affecting the tarsal conjunctiva
  • Ocular irritation or previous surgery

Symptoms

  • Foreign body sensation, irritation
  • Red, watery eye
  • Blurring of vision

Signs

  • Corneal and/or conjunctival epithelial disturbance from abrasion by the lashes (wide range of severity)
  • Localised conjunctival hyperaemia
  • Lid laxity (involutional entropion)
  • Conjunctival scarring (cicatricial entropion)
  • Absence of lower lid crease (congenital entropion)
  • Distraction test
    • if lower lid can be pulled >6mm from globe, it is lax
    • positive test indicates canthal tendon laxity
  • Snap-back test
    • with finger, pull lower lid down towards inferior orbital margin
    • release: lid should snap back
    • positive test indicates poor orbicularis tone

Differential diagnosis

  • Eyelid retraction (e.g. Graves’ disease):
    • retracted upper or lower lid causes the lashes to be hidden by the resulting fold of lid skin, resembling entropion
  • Distichiasis:
    • congenital additional row of lashes at the meibomian gland orifices
  • Trichiasis:
    • lashes arise from normal position but are misdirected towards the cornea, secondary to inflammation and scarring of the lash follicles
  • Dermatochalasis:
    • degenerative condition, common in the elderly, leading to baggy appearance due to redundant lid skin and protrusion of orbital fat. Misdirection of lashes of upper lid may resemble entropion
  • Epiblepharon:
    • congenital condition in which a fold of skin and muscle extends horizontally across the lid margin causing the lashes to be directed vertically. Orientation of tarsal plate normal. Usually asymptomatic and resolves with increasing age

Management by optometrist

Practitioners should recognise their limitations and where necessary seek further advice or refer the patient elsewhere

GRADE Level of evidence and strength of recommendation always relates to the statement(s) immediately above

Non pharmacological
  • Taping the lid to the skin of the cheek, so as to pull it away from the globe, can give temporary relief (particularly for involutional or spastic entropion)
  • Epilation of lashes can be done where the trichiasis is localised (eg in cicatricial entropion)

(GRADE*: Level of evidence=low, Strength of recommendation=strong)

  • Therapeutic contact lens to protect cornea from lashes

(GRADE*: Level of evidence=low, Strength of recommendation=weak)
 

Pharmacological
  • Ocular lubricants for tear deficiency/instability related symptoms (drops for use during the day, unmedicated ointment for use at bedtime)

(GRADE*: Level of evidence=low, Strength of recommendation=strong)

NB Patients on long-term medication may develop sensitivity reactions which may be to active ingredients or to preservative systems (see Clinical Management Guideline on Conjunctivitis Medicamentosa). They should be switched to unpreserved preparations
 

Management category

B1: Initial management (including drugs) followed by routine referral
Congenital entropion does not resolve spontaneously and the potential for severe corneal complications requires referral for prompt treatment

Possible management by ophthalmologist

The choice of surgical procedure depends on the underlying cause(s)

Surgical intervention is indicated if any of the following are persistent:

  • ocular irritation
  • recurrent bacterial conjunctivitis
  • reflex tear hypersecretion
  • superficial keratopathy
  • risk of ulceration and microbial keratitis

There is evidence that the combination of horizontal and vertical eyelid tightening is an effective treatment for entropion

Evidence base

*GRADE: Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (www.gradingworkinggroup.org)
 

Sources of evidence

Boboridis KG, Bunce C. Interventions for involutional lower lid entropion. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(12):CD002221

Hintschich C. Correction of entropion and ectropion. Dev Ophthalmol. 2008;41:85-102

Lay summary

Entropion is a condition in which the edge of the eyelid (usually the lower lid) rolls inwards, so that the eyelashes touch the surface of the eye. The commonest cause is loss of elasticity and muscle tone of the eyelids which happens as part of the ageing process. It can also result if the eyelid is scarred following inflammation or injury. In many countries of the world entropion occurs as a complication of repeated infection by the trachoma agent (Chlamydia trachomatis).

The affected eye becomes irritable, red and watery, and vision may be blurred. The optometrist will be able to see the effect of eyelashes rubbing on the eye surface and may be able to determine the cause. Taping the edge of the eyelid to the skin of the cheek may give temporary relief, as may the removal of lashes or the fitting of a bandage contact lens to protect the eye surface from contact with the eyelashes. Patients may be helped by artificial tears and unmedicated ointments. These measures will not cure the condition, so patients are often referred routinely to the ophthalmologist for consideration of surgery, usually under local anaesthetic, which may solve the problem.

Entropion
Version 5
Date of search 20.05.17
Date of revision 20.09.17
Date of publication 05.12.17
Date for review 19.05.19
© College of Optometrists 

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