Eyelashes not only protect the eyes from dust and other foreign particles, they make the eyes look more attractive and inviting. Many people are blessed with bigger and sky high eyelash but there are some unfortunate whose eyelash grow inwards towards the eye. In medical terminology inward growth of eyelash is called Trichiasis.
Ingrown eyelash is extremely discomforting condition. It causes irritation and obstruction of vision as eyelash rub against the eye. Ingrown eyelash can be present since birth or occur later in life. There are several triggering factors such as herpes in eye, burns, eye infection, traumatic injury etc responsible for it.
Several medical procedures have proved beneficial in treating this disturbing condition such as epilation, electrolysis, and cryotherapy.
What Causes An Ingrown Eyelash?
Ingrown eyelash can result due to numerous causes. Men as well as women are equally affected.
- It is more common in elderly individuals, but may occur at any age. Children with some congenital eye problem are at greater risk of developing ingrown eyelash.
- Inflammatory diseases of eyelids such as chronic blepheritis can lead to damage to the eyelids. It eventually may cause the eyelash to turn inwards towards the eyes.
- An injury to the eye and the eyelid can be one of the reasons for ingrown eyelash. The injury may leave behind scar which in turn may lead to development of inward eyelash.
- A rare eyelid condition called distichiasis is responsible for the lashes to grow inwards. This condition is characterized by formation of two rows of eyelashes of which one row grows inwards.
- Ingrown eyelashes can also develop due to trachoma and skin involvement in a disease called Stevens –Johnson syndrome.
- A congenital disorder called epiblepharon is characterized by ingrown eyelash. In this condition the muscles around the eye are affected. They push the skin around the eye inwards. Together with skin eyelash also grow inwards.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ingrown Eyelash
Diverse conditions can lead to ingrown eyelash. The signs and symptoms of trichiasis remain the same although the cause may be different. Here are some of the most important symptoms of ingrown eyelash.
- The most common symptom of ingrown eyelash is constant irritation in the eyes. It is due to frequent rubbing of the lashes in the eyes.
- Person has a feeling of some foreign particle in the eye. He always has a feeling of sand or grit in his eyes. It produces irritation and watering.
- Person with ingrown eyelash complains of pain and redness in the eyes.
- There is frequent infection in the eye.
- If ingrown eyelash remains untreated for long duration, it can produce abrasion and ulceration on the cornea. It increases risk for loss of vision.
- Ingrown eyelash can cause dryness in the eyes.
How To Get Rid Of Ingrown Eyelash?
People suffering from ingrown eyelash need to consult an ophthalmologist. There are several options available to treat the condition.
At home you can alleviate irritation and pain in eyes with warm fomentation. Soak a clean towel with warm water. Place it on the affected eye for 10 to 15 minutes at least three to four times in a day. However, avoid using very hot water as it may damage the eyes.
Patient has to always consult his ophthalmologist to get rid of inward growing eyelash.
- The simple procedure your doctor may try is to pluck the offending eyelash. However, the procedure is painful and it recurs as new hair grows. You have to frequently visit your doctor for removal of the eyelash.
- Severe cases may require more intensive surgical therapy such as laser removal or electrolysis where the offending eyelash is removed permanently.
- Cryosurgery is another option for permanent removal of ingrown eyelash. In this procedure liquid nitrogen is used to destroy the hair follicle by freezing it.