Ingrown eyelash treatment

Updated February 21, 2017

An ingrown eyelash, sometimes called trichiasis, is a condition that is caused when your eyelashes grown inwardly toward your eye. The condition can be caused by infection, inflammation, autoimmune deficiencies or trauma to the eyes. A result of the condition is that it can obstruct your view or irritate your eyes.


The most common cause of ingrown eyelashes is an infectious disease known as trachoma. Although rare in the developed nations, trachoma is the leading cause of infectious blindness worldwide. The disease spreads in countries where poor hygiene is a factor, and often spreads from child to child, child to mother, and mother to mother. Trachoma is treated through oral antibiotics.


Another issue that can lead to ingrown hairs is epiblepharon. Epiblepharon is a congenital disorder that occurs when the muscles surrounding the eye area cause the skin to push a person's lashes inward. It is most common in persons of Asian descent and can be corrected with surgery.

Simple Trichiasis

In developed nations, simple trichiasis, or having only one or two ingrown hairs, is more common. Simple trichiasis can be caused by infection spread through contaminated cosmetics, contact lens care or frequent touching of the eye area with dirty hands. This can lead to infected eyelash follicles.


If you have developed simple trichiasis, you may notice a swelling of your eyelash follicle. It may also form a sty, obstructing your vision. If left untreated, the eyelash grows inward. Eventually, the eyelash can scratch or even scar your eye's cornea.


Under no circumstances should you seek to treat simple trichiasis yourself. Instead seek the advice of a medical doctor or a vision specialist such as an ophthalmologist. Unless complications arise, the treatment may involve lubricated eye drops, destroying the hair through electrolysis, followed by a round of antibiotics to fight off infection. Your ophthalmologist may also recommend hot and cold compresses to reduce the swelling.

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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.