Eyelid & Eyelash Problems

Eyelid and eyelash problems can be both painful and irritating, and can even damage your sight if left untreated.

The eyelids and eyelashes function as protective barriers for our eyes. They keep foreign bodies out, and ensure your eyes don’t dry out. So when eyelid and eyelash problems occur, they are best dealt with swiftly, to avoid any potential long-term damage.

Many people encounter eyelid or eyelash problems as they age, but thankfully most symptoms are easily treated.

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Ectropion: outward-turned eyelids

As we age, the eyelids can occasionally become unstable. In some people, the eyelids (usually lower eyelids) can turn outwards, giving a red-rimmed appearance to the eyes.


Aside from a change in appearance, ectropion may also cause some discomfort, including dry eyes and irritation. It is also associated with watery eyes.


Ectropion usually occurs when the muscles that hold the eyelids firmly against the eyes weaken with age. However, it can also develop as a result of scarring around the eyelid, or nerve damage.

Entropian: inward-turned eyelids

As with ectropion, entropion can occur with age, and usually affects the lower eyelids. With entropion however, the eyelids turn inwards.


Entropion is usually accompanied by severe discomfort, as the eyelashes rub on the eyes. Not only is this painful and irritating, it can also potentially cause damage to your corneas, and should therefore be dealt with promptly.


Entropion is usually caused by age-related weakening of the muscles around the eyes, but may also be caused by scarring or nerve damage.

Trichiasis: ingrown eyelashes

With trichiasis, the eyelashes grow inwards so that they constantly rub on the surface of the eyes, causing great discomfort. 


The most common symptom of ingrown eyelashes is a feeling of there constantly being something in the eye. Redness, itchiness, irritation and a sandy or gritty feeling in the eye are all common symptoms too. Sometimes the ingrown eyelashes are normal in size and colour, but they may also be very fine and colourless, and only visible with a magnifying glass.


Trichiasis is often the result of an eye infection or inflammation of the eyelid. However, it can also result from injury or scarring to the eyelid, or may simply occur with age.

Treatment for eyelid and eyelash problems

Treatment for eyelid and eyelash problems is generally quite straightforward and effective. Thankfully, both entropion and ectropion can be treated with relatively fast and simple eyelid surgery. Ingrown eyelashes can be removed, although a short surgical procedure may also be needed if they continue to grow back.

It’s essential to choose an experienced, specialist oculoplastic surgeon to operate on the delicate areas around your eyes. Call us and talk to one of our expert surgeons today.

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Request an appointment online, phone us on 0800 99 2020 or email us at enquiries@eyeinstitute.co.nz

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