Ingrown eyelashes are a common condition for men and women, as well as dogs and cats. There are several variations of the problem. Trichiasis develops when eyelashes grow in toward the eyeball. Distichiasis occurs when the eye grows two lashes in one hair follicle, creating an extra row of lashes that turns inward. Both conditions create constant rubbing on the cornea. This irritation causes pain, redness and watering, and can lead to infections, scarring of the eye and vision damage if left untreated. Since the irritation leads to rubbing of the eye, treatment must be sought.
Removed hairs will simply grow back; the only permanent solution is surgery, involving either burning or freezing the hairs, or cutting out the follicles. Until surgery can be performed, there are a few things to help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by this condition.
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Things you need
- Hot or cold compresses
Apply a hot or cold compress to the eye, leaving it on for 5 minutes. A compress can be made by soaking a washcloth or hand towel in ice water or hot water that is not scalding to the touch. Either lie down or lean back, and lay the compress across the eye or eyes.
Pluck the ingrown lash or lashes with a pair of sterilised tweezers. To do this safely, look into a mirror and pull the lid away from the eye and gently yet quickly pull the painful lash or lashes out with the tweezers.
Ask your doctor for a referral to a qualified electrolysis specialist to remove the ingrown eyelashes.
Inquire your doctor about an oral or topical painkiller, or a topical antibiotic. If the cornea has an abrasion (or is scratched), painkillers and/or antibiotics are currently used to handle discomfort while the cornea heals.
Tips and warnings
- Eye drops may give some minor relief, but will not alleviate the rubbing of the hair against the cornea.
- Compresses can also relieve dry, tired or puffy eyes.
- Plucking eyelashes can be quite painful, and lashes will grow back and continue to cause irritation.
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