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What is Entropion?

Typically, entropion is a hereditary problem that happens when a foal is born with his eyelid turning inward, which causes the hairs on the surface of his eyelid to rub against the eyeball, leading to irritation of the conjunctiva and cornea. The condition may also occur after injury, infection or the exposure to certain irritants in a foal or full grown horse. Entropion will cause excess tearing and the horse will feel uncomfortable. Very long eyelashes may cause scarring and even sores on the cornea of your horse. It is important that the condition be treated quickly or the rubbing from the eyelash and eyelid can lead to infection in the eye. Entropion is a significant cause of corneal ulceration and is particularly a problem in foals that are premature or dehydrated.

Causing excess tearing and discomfort in the foal or horse, entropion is a condition where the eyelid turns inward, causing the animal’s eyelashes to rub against his eyeball.

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Symptoms of Entropion in Horses

Should your foal or full grown horse have the condition entropion, the following symptoms may be noticed:

  • His eyelid will roll in against his eye
  • More tearing than is typical
  • Irritation and redness may be noticeable and the irritation will lead to discomfort in your foal or horse. 
  • Your horse may be dehydrated or uninterested in eating
  • Forced, involuntary closing of his eyelids may occur`
  • May display conjunctivitis
  • Unusual intolerance of light
  • Corneal ulcers

Should any of these symptoms be noticed, you will want to contact your veterinarian and have your foal or horse undergo a physical examination. 


Entropion may be a congenital condition or it may occur as a result of an injury, infection or an eyelid laceration being stitched improperly or going untreated. In the cases of entropion being due to an eyelid laceration, scarring can lead to the eyelids rolling in.

Causes of Entropion in Horses

Entropion is very often a hereditary condition, where the foal is born with his eyelid turning in, causing the eyelashes to rub against his eyeball. Much less frequently the condition can be the result of your horse having an injury to the eyelid or due to chronic eye irritation or spasms. The condition can also occur due to either an eyelid laceration going untreated or being poorly stitched, with the scarring causing the eyelids to roll in.

Diagnosis of Entropion in Horses

Entropion is typically easy to diagnose; as soon as you notice the anomaly in the eye of your horse, you will want to contact the veterinarian to schedule a physical examination. The earlier that the condition and its’ cause can be diagnosed, the more likely it is that your horse will avoid secondary complications and experience a good prognosis.

The eye examination may include an intraocular pressure test, Schirmer tear test, and fluorescein stain test. If your horse is experiencing pain in the eye, sedation may be needed to perform the diagnostic evaluation.

Treatment of Entropion in Horses

Most cases of entropion diagnosed in young foals are easy to correct. Sutures will be placed carefully (a small amount of skin around the eye is stitched together) in an effort to roll the lid away from the eye of the foal. Your veterinarian will try to decrease the pain that your foal is experiencing by injecting medication into the lid near the area where it is turning in or using anesthetics to block the nerves in the eyelid. In most foals, this will allow the condition too self-correct. Should the entropion be linked to lid scarring, surgical correction will be required and results are typically very good. Another option is for the veterinarian to inject fluid into the eyelid which will lead to it rolling out.

Should your foal or horse be experiencing entropion, treatment is important; without it an ulcer can develop in his eye. Should treatment not be effective, it may be due to the veterinarian either not identifying or treating the condition causing the entropion, not appropriately removing lower lid tissue, or the veterinarian not choosing a more significant treatment option for a severe case.

Recovery of Entropion in Horses

Should your foal or horse have this condition, it is important that you follow the instructions of your veterinarian and attend all follow up appointments in order to ensure the best outcome for him. Should your foal or horse undergo surgery for the condition, make sure to get information from your veterinarian on how to best help him to recover.

In mild cases of entropion, your foal or horse should respond to treatment in 7-10 days. When surgery is involved, it is expected that it will take 10-14 days for the horse to heal and an additional 10-14 days for the eyelid to return fully to a normal position.