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Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

Entropion

    • Entropion is a condition in which part or all of the eyelid rolls inward toward the eye surface.
    • As a result, eyelashes may brush against the cornea (the clear covering of the eye), causing scratches, ulcers, and pain.
    • Signs of entropion and associated corneal damage include squinting or blinking, excessive tearing, eye discharge, and pawing at the eye.
    • The condition is often inherited in flat-faced dogs and cats or in dogs that have many facial folds.
    • It may also occur as a result of eye irritation, which can cause eyelid spasms.
    • Diagnosis involves an examination of the eyelids and eye surface.
    • Treatment usually involves surgical correction of the eyelid conformation (shape), as well as treatment of any corneal damage from eyelash rubbing.

    What Is Entropion?

    Entropion is a rolling inward of part of the eyelid or the entire eyelid. It can occur on the upper and/or lower eyelid, in one eye, or in both eyes. When the eyelid rolls inward, the eyelashes can rub against the cornea (the clear covering of the eye), resulting in painful scratches. If left untreated, these scratches can lead to corneal ulcers and blindness.

    Entropion is more common in dogs than in cats. Flat-faced dogs (like English bulldogs, Pekinese, and pugs) and cats (like Persians and Himalayans) may be more likely to experience entropion. Breeds that have numerous skin folds on the face, such as bloodhounds, shar-peis, and chow chows, may also be more likely to experience this condition.

    What Are the Signs of Entropion?

    • Pets with entropion may show the following signs:
    • Squinting, blinking
    • Excessive tear production
    • Eye discharge that may be clear, white, yellow, or greenish
    • Pawing at eye
    • Pigmentation (discoloration) on the eye surface

    If you see these signs in your pet, it is important that you seek veterinary help immediately. Corneal scratches can be very painful, and the outcome is better if they are treated as soon as possible.

    What Causes Entropion?

    Entropion is generally inherited, but it can also be caused by eye irritation, which can cause the eyelids to spasm. 

    How Is Entropion Diagnosed?

    Your veterinarian will examine the eye to determine if entropion is being caused by a primary problem with the eyelid or by eye irritation. If eye irritation is the cause, once the irritation is resolved, the eyelid will most likely return to normal.

    While examining the eyelid, the veterinarian will also assess the eye surface for damage that may have been caused by eyelash rubbing. He or she may put a few drops of fluorescein dye into the eye. This procedure is painless and can locate a scratch or other injury on the surface of the cornea. If there is an injury on the cornea, the dye sticks to it,  making it obvious by staining it apple green.

    How Is Entropion Treated?

    Generally, entropion is treated with surgery. A small piece of skin is removed to make the eyelid roll more outward instead of inward and keep the eyelashes away from the eye surface. In puppies, surgery should not be performed until the face conformation (shape) has matured, which is usually by about 6 months of age. Temporary stitches may be put in place until then to prevent the eyelashes from rubbing against the eye.

    If a corneal injury has resulted from the eyelashes rubbing against the eye, it must also be treated. Minor corneal injuries are usually treated with topical antibiotics (applied directly to the eye as drops or ointment) and pain medications. More severe problems may require surgical intervention.