Welcome to Eye Doctors of Lancaster
Barton L. Halpern, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Theodore D. Jones, M.D.
Diane M. Corallo, M.D.
Catherine H. Bene, M.D.
Leonard B. Nelson, M.D.

Phone: 717-560-4020    Fax: 717-560-2919   or   Email Us
Please call, not email, to make or cancel appointments or request any medical information. Thank you.

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Understanding Trichiasis, Entropion and Ectropian

Trichiasis is a disorder where the eyelashes of either the upper or lower lid are misdirected against the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye). This not only causes a painful foreign body sensation but also causes chronic irritation of the corneal surface with each blink, making the cornea susceptible to serious infections. Effective but short-lived relief can be obtained by manually removing the offending lashes with forceps. Problematically, new lashes have a tendency to regrow in the same misdirected way as ones that were removed. When there are a small number of lashes that have gone this cycle, electrolysis can be performed by an ophthalmologist. This procedure, performed under magnification and anesthesia, uses a special probe to destroy the offending hair follicles. With larger numbers of lashes, cryotherapy, or freezing the lash-line, can be used with good success.

Another way that eyelashes can rub against the eye is in a condition called entropion. Here, the eyelashes are normally growing, but the eyelid margin is flipped in toward the eye. Entropion is often the result of aging. The lower eyelid becomes more lax with age and the muscles holding the lid in its proper position become weakened. With forceful squeezing or even a normal blink, the eyelid can invert. Over time, the condition can progress such that the eyelid never is able to assume its normal position spontaneously. Surgery is available to correct entropion. The laxity of the lower lids is reversed and the lid is meticulously repositioned. This surgery can be performed in the office, under local anesthesia.

Ectropion is a disorder of the lower eyelids in which the lower eyelids turn out away from the eye, thus causing more of the eye to be exposed to the environment. This can lead to drying out of the eye which can lead to excessive tearing and/or chronic infection/irritation of the eye. Surgery can be performed to correct this condition which allows the eyelid to assume a more normal position.