What is an Ingrown Eyelash?
Trichiasis or ingrowing eyelash refers to the condition of eyelashes that grows misdirected going towards the eye, instead of growing normally away from the person’s eye.
It is a common problem which affects both the male and female gender of different nationalities in a wide age group around the world. This can create pain and possible harm to the affected eye due to the abnormal inward growth of eyelashes.
The person with Trichiasis has the tendency to do constant eye rubbing on the corneal layer of the eye, which may pose the risk of a developing eye infection, scarring and worst are future vision problems.
There will be a feeling of pain and an irritation on the specific eye, associated with some soreness, redness in color and a teary-eye is usually noted until the time when the problem is being resolved through removal.
Ingrown eye lashes can be manifested by a person in various ways depending on its etiological factors, which leads to some discomfort to the eyes. Some of the signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Pain on the affected eye with ingrown eyelash
- Inflammation or soreness of the eye follicle or in severe cases it involves an inflammation of the eyelid
- Redness color of the eye that appears to be a red spot found on the eye where an ingrown eyelash develops
- Feeling of itchiness in the affected eye
- Disruption or blurring of vision
- Sensation of a foreign body such as sand or grit in the eye
- Drying of the affected eye as a result of constant watering due to the condition of eyelashes
- Eyelid scarring due to constant rubbing or due to another eye condition such as the presence of an ocular autoimmune disease
- An irritation of the eye due to constant rubbing, or a chronic irritation due to a discomfort of ingrown eyelash can result to localized erosion and ulceration of the corneal layer of the eye and this is a risky condition on a person’s vision
Etiological Factors & Causes
Ingrown Eyelash can be caused by any chronic inflammatory condition or chronic irritation which affects the eyelid. It can start to develop with an irritation and itchiness felt in the eyelid, leading to an infection or in the existence of some skin conditions that triggered the inflammation in the site and ending up with the inward growth of eyelashes going in the eye’s direction.
This problem can also happen when there are previous eye injuries which may have occurred during childhood, any hereditary or genital condition, some autoimmune disorders, trauma that causes eye injury, malformation in the eyelid, or it can just be a part of the ageing process of the person.
Some studies have shown that medical procedures can also lead to the formation of ingrown eyelash in the later years of life. Women who use contaminated cosmetics to enhance eye beauty may cause or spread the infection in the eye.
The manner of touching the eye with a dirty hand can account for an eye infection. The presence of a stye or hordeolum which are common to all and may be observed since childhood days can also lead to ingrown eyelashes as the person is growing older.
The assessment and confirmation of an ingrown eyelash problem helps a lot in providing simple treatment procedures which can relieve the inflammation; an education on the significance of the practice of proper hand hygiene before touching the eyes; or through specific procedures to relieve the eye from ingrown eyelash temporarily or permanently, on a case to case basis with a person’s condition and with a physician’s thorough evaluation of the situation.
The treatment of choice can be:
- Hot and cold compresses can be done to minimize the swelling of the affected eye as directed by a health care provider or eye specialist
- The only effective solution to the problem is through the removal of ingrown eyelashes; however these eyelashes grow back again for a span of 4-8weeks time
- Treatment procedures performed by optical professionals which are epilation, electrolysis and cryoablation.
Epilation is the removal of the growing offending ingrown eyelashes done by an eye specialist who uses an epilation forceps. This is a quick procedure with immediate relief felt by the person after the removal of the eyelash that causes the discomfort in the eye.
Electrolysis is an electrical treatment application on the roots of the eyelashes done under local anesthesia, as a means of permanent lash removal. The patient’s affected eye is covered with an eye pad for protection after the procedure is performed and is instructed to have an eye drops or ointment applied as prescribed by an eye specialist.
Cryoablation or cryotherapy involves a freezing treatment approach but it can be a risky procedure which might end up to distortion and scarring of the eyelid; thus this approach is only advisable in severe cases of Trichiasis problem among patients.
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- Woreta F, Munoz B, Gower E, Alemayehu W, West SK (2011). Three-Year Outcomes of the Surgery for Trichiasis, Antibiotics to Prevent Recurrence Trial. Arch Ophthalmol. Dec 12.