This month we will talk about trichiasis, which is when an eyelash or lashes turn inwards toward the eyeball.
What causes trichiasis?
There is often no identifiable cause for eyelashes growing the wrong way. However, infections, inflammation, trauma, cancer, and aging changes of the eyelids can cause trichiasis.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms and irritation come from the eyelash rubbing against the conjunctiva and cornea. A red eye and the sensation of something in the eye are very common. Tearing, pain, light sensitivity, and vision changes may also occur.
How is this diagnosed?
A comprehensive eye exam will show the eyelashes turned inward. Doctors will look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and other eyelid changes. The cornea will be examined for an abrasion or ulcer as these may occur with prolonged rubbing of the eyelash on the eye.
How is this treated?
The treatment is based on removing the eyelashes or redirecting them from the eye.
Epilation: This is the removal of lashes in the office using small tweezers. The eyelashes grow back in about two to three months. If the hair grows back in the wrong direction, removal may be necessary again.
Ablation surgery: This is a laser procedure to remove the lashes.
Electrolysis: This procedure uses an electric current to damage the hair follicle.
Cryosurgery: This process involves freezing the lashes and follicles.
Eyelid surgery: Some cases may require surgery on the eyelids.
Lubricating eye drops or antibiotics may be needed for findings in the cornea (abrasion or ulcer).
Remember, there are many causes for red eyes. Make sure to see an ophthalmologist for any new symptoms and get treatment if necessary.
Return next month for a discussion on a new topic!