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.
Entropion: 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, but it can also potentially cause damage to your corneas and should therefore be dealt with promptly.
Entropion is usually caused by the age-related weakening of the muscles around the eyes. Still, it 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. Still, 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 occur with age.