Ectropion is the condition where the lower eyelid and eyelashes begin to turn outward and start to sag. The eye may display excessive tearing, mucous discharge, crusting of the eyelid or some irritation. In many instances this occurs because of aging when the tissues of the eyelid begin to relax, but other causes can be the result of chemical and thermal burns, skin cancers, previous eyelid surgery or trauma. Ectropion can potentially be genetic as well if the eyelids do not form properly, however, those cases are extremely rare.
Ectropion can and should be repaired through surgery. Without repair, infection and scarring can occur due to the rubbing of the eyelid and damage to the cornea. The eye can remain protected before the surgery by fixing the lower lid down and utilizing lubricated drops and ointment.