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Entropion and ectropion repair

5-minute read

What is entropion and ectropion?

Entropion and ectropion are conditions that affect your eyelid.

With entropion, your eyelid turns in and causes your eyelashes to rub against the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped outer layer at the front of your eye). With ectropion, your eyelid turns out and does not touch your eye.

How does entropion or ectropion happen?

The problem is usually caused by ageing. Sometimes the problem is caused by scar tissue pulling your eyelid out of position. It can also be caused by a lump or trauma (where a physical force is applied directly to your eyelid). Only the lower eyelid is usually affected.

Illustration showing an entropion eyelid and ectropion eyelid.
a Entropion - eyelid turned in
b Ectropion - eyelid turned out

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your eyelid should be in a better position and your symptoms should improve.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Artificial tears and ointments can be used to protect the surface of your eye and improve your symptoms.

  • Using tape to prevent your eyelashes from rubbing against your eye.
  • Injecting Botox into the muscle that turns your eyelid inwards.
  • Using stitches to prevent your eyelid from turning in.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a local anaesthetic that is injected in your eyelid and given as local anaesthetic eye drops.

The operation usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on whether the operation involves both eyes.

Your surgeon may need to remove a small section of your eyelid where the tissues have slackened most. If the problem is caused by tight skin or scar tissue, your surgeon may need to use a skin graft.

How can I prepare myself for the operation?

Keeping in the same position

If the operation is performed under a local anaesthetic, you will need to lie still and flat during the operation. If you cannot lie still and flat, let your surgeon know.

Lifestyle changes

If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.

Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Speak to the healthcare team about any vaccinations you might need to reduce your risk of serious illness while you recover. When you come into hospital, practise hand washing and wear a face covering when asked.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • infection of the surgical site
  • bleeding
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
  • chest infection

Specific complications of this operation

  • corneal abrasion
  • lid notch
  • cosmetic problems

Consequences of this procedure

  • pain
  • scarring of the skin

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after a few hours.

Do not get your eyelid wet, do strenuous exercise or bend down until the stitches are removed.

Do not wear eye make-up or drink alcohol for a few weeks, and keep your face out of the sun.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The results of an entropion or ectropion repair last for a long time. However, as you get older your skin and soft tissues of your eyelids will continue to slacken and the problem may come back.


An entropion or ectropion repair is an operation to correct an eyelid that turns in or turns out. The operation should improve symptoms caused by entropion or ectropion.


The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright ©

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Last reviewed: September 2023

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