Imagine how irritating it would feel if your eyelashes rubbed against your eyes. That is entropion causing patients to suffer watering, redness, pain and discharge as well as irritation. As it persists the front of the eye ulcerates, can become infected, and cause the eye to rupture.

Now picture the reverse happening – the eyelid turns away from the eye causing patients to suffer redness, watery eye, sticky discharge and discomfort.

In both cases, rubbing the eye gives temporary relief, but this actually makes the condition worse.

Ectropion and entropion are commonly caused by eye rubbing and age-related diseases such as skin cancer, skin damage or injury.

The diagnosis is made during consultation. Initial treatments include drops to relieve irritation and discomfort in mild cases or a contact lens may be used to protect the surface of the eye. Stitches (called everting sutures) or tape applied to the eyelid might help as do injections into the eyelid muscle.

Surgery is the definitive cure, performed under local anaesthesia taking around an hour.

After surgery you will have a pad and a bandage over the eye for 24 hours. Stitches are removed at around 7 days and swelling may persist for 6 weeks. Avoid eye rubbing before and after surgery to reduce the chance of reoccurrence. You may need to change how you sleep to avoid compression of that region overnight.