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This is a condition in which the lower lid margins roll inward to the extent that hair rubs on the surface of the eyeball. In rare cases the upper lid can also be affected to some degree. One or both eyes may be involved. This condition can occur in all breeds, however Spaniels, Great Danes, Shar Peis, Poodles and Saint Bernards seem to be the most frequently affected breeds, suggesting an inherited trait.
What are the symptoms?
Most dogs with entropion will squint and have a reddened, inflamed eye. Because of the pain involved, dogs will scratch at the eye with a paw, possibly doing further damage. Examination of the lower eyelid will confirm the diagnosis.
What are the risks?
Left untreated, severe eye infections may develop. The cornea can become severely irritated or damaged as the chronic abrasion by the inverted lower lid wears away at it surface. In some cases, deep ulcers form in the cornea, even to the point of rupturing through its surface. This quickly leads to intraocular infections and potential blindness.
What is the management?
Once diagnosed, surgery is the only treatment. There are several different techniques, but typically a small incision is made below the lid, a small portion of skin is removed and when the two sides of the incision are then sutured, it pulls the border of the lid downward into a normal position. Antibiotic ointments may be applied if infections are present.
Some More General Information
Entropion is a rolling inward of the eyelids. It may cause the eyelashes to rub against the sensitive front layer of the eyeball (cornea) and is often uncomfortable or painful. It also can cause serious eye damage.
Causes include birth defects, injuries and other eye disorders. Entropion may be permanent or temporary, and may occur at any age after the eyes open at around 2 weeks.
Important Points in Treatment
1. The objective of treatment is to permanently evert or roll the affected lid(s) outward. Hospitalization and general anesthesia will be required.
2. Further lid adjustment may occasionally be needed at a later date due to tissue contraction or growth.
3. "Tacking" is a term used when the lids are temporarily turned outward with the use of sutures. The sutures remain in for an average of 2-3 weeks. This procedure is used on very young animals to protect the sensitive front of the eyeball until the lids attain less harmful eyeball contact through natural maturing. In some instances, a more permanent, surgical repair may be required at a later date on these patients.