Entropion is a condition where the eyelids roll inward, causing the eyelid hairs to contact the surface of the eye. Either upper eyelids, lower lids, or both, may be involved. Most often both eyes’ lids are affected. This condition is associated with discomfort and may result in damage to the eye which may be severe enough to cause partial or complete loss of vision. Squinting and tearing are the most common signs observed.
Entropion is seen as an inherited condition in many breeds of dogs, including the Shar Pei, English Bulldog and Chow Chow. Often the severity of the entropion is related to the amount and weight of the skin and wrinkles covering the head and face and the conformation of the skull.
Permanent treatment for entropion requires a surgical procedure to remove a narrow segment of skin and muscle from the eyelid with stitches used to evert the eyelid to a normal position. The sutures are removed in 2 weeks. In breeds where entropion is accompanied by heavy face folds, or in cases where surgery is necessary before a dog is fully mature, it is not unusual for more than one surgery to be required.
When entropion is present in young puppies, definitive surgical correction should be delayed until the dog is nearer physical maturity. Sutures or surgical staples may be placed in the eyelids using a local anesthetic and sedation. This is very well tolerated by the pups, although care must be taken to prevent the dam or littermates from chewing at them. The staples are maintained and/or replaced until the condition resolves with age or until the puppy is old enough for permanent surgical correction.