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Entropion is the turning in of the edges of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the lashes rub against the eye surface.


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 cornea. In older people, the condition is usually caused by a spasm or weakening of the muscles surrounding the lower part of the eye. This causes the lid to turn inward.

Although rare in North America and Europe, trachoma infection can cause scarring of the inner side of the lid, which may cause entropion. Trachoma scarring is one of the three leading causes of blindness in the world.

Risk factors for entropion are:


Exams and Tests

A physical examination of the eyes and eyelids confirms the diagnosis. Special tests are usually not necessary.


Artificial tears (a lubricant) may provide relief from dryness and keep the cornea lubricated. Surgery to correct the position of the eyelids is usually effective.

Severe cases may need surgery to protect the eye.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook is usually good if the condition is treated before cornea damage occurs.

Possible Complications

Corneal dryness and irritation may increase the risk of:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:

If you have entropion, the following should be considered an emergency:

  • Decreasing vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Eye redness that increases rapidly


Most cases are not preventable. Treatment reduces the risk of complications.

People who have recently traveled to an area where there is trachoma (North Africa, South Asia) should seek treatment if they have red eyes.


Howard GR. Eyelid retraction. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.4.

Review Date: 11/14/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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