An ectropion is the condition when the lower eyelid moves down and away from the eye. This process can happen at one portion of the eyelid or along the whole length of the lower eyelid. As the eyelid turns outwards, so the normally hidden, back surface of the eyelid becomes visible. This is usually a very obvious stage as the back surface of the lid is bright red.
As well as having a very visible effect on the eyelid, an ectropion will lead to wateriness of the eye due to the tear drainage hole (the punctum) turning out and away from the eye. In this new position it is impossible for the tears to drain away properly.
As the back surface of the eyelid become more exposed, it dries out and becomes inflamed and sore. As a result of these changes, ectropions are usually responsible for sore, watery eyes that look very red and inflamed.
An ectropion can be corrected by tightening the lower eyelid. This both lifts the lid back to its normal position but also allows the lid to roll inwards where the punctum can once again assist in tear drainage. This operation is usually carried out under a local anaesthetic.