Eyelash disorders can include loss of eyelashes, irritation of the lid where the eyelash meets the eyelid, abnormal growth of lashes, ingrown eyelashes, parasite infestation, pulling out of eyelashes due to other disorders or a sty. Symptoms often overlap, and diagnosis for eyelash disorders is often a difficult process. Eyelash disorders can exist with other diseases such as conjunctivitis, keratitis, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. Once a diagnosis is made, then the appropriate treatment can follow.
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Eyelash disorders can be congenital or caused by drugs or endocrine and autoimmune disorders. There are many unique causes of eyelash disorders. Psychiatric disorders can cause eyelash disorders. Trichotillomania, also known as trichotillosis is an impulse control disorder that causes someone to have the urge to pull out their hair. In some cases, the person will pluck their eyelashes out one by one.
Symptoms of eyelash disorders include burning and watering of the eyes, red lids, foreign body sensation (as in the case of lice or mites, you may feel like something is crawling around in your eyelashes), red eyes, crusting of the lashes, pain and decreased vision. Inflammation, itching, flaky, loss of eyelashes, infestation of parasites and infection around the eyelash follicles are also symptoms of eyelash disorders.
Demodicosis is the infestation of the Demodex folliculorum, an arachnid (mite) found in eyelash follicles.
External hordeolum is an infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelash.
Crab lice usually infest the pubic area but they may move to other areas such as the eyelashes.
Blepharitis is described as a family of inflammation of the skin of the eyelids where eyelashes attach. It is caused when the tiny glands near the eyelashes malfunction and bacteria grow as a result. It does not permanently damage eyesight.
A slit lamp bio-microscopy may be used to diagnose some eyelash disorders. Often symptoms can be seen by observation. Adding a fluorescent solution to an eyelash under the microscope can detect and identify mites that may be embedded in the eyelashes.
Treatment for eyelash disorders range from surgery and removal of the affected eyelashes to topical ointments as well as shampoo that is used specifically for mites and lice.
Treatment for trichotillomania is a combination of psychotherapy and medications, usually antidepressants. This course of action does not always work because of the patient's proclivity to repeat the action and obsessive behaviour patterns.
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