Ingrown eyelashes, or trichiasis, can cause redness, watering, irritation and pain. The condition is caused by the misdirection of your eyelashes. When eyelashes grow toward the eye instead of away from it they can cause mild to severe eye problems. Ingrown lashes that are not treated can cause continuous rubbing of the eye and create abrasions or ulcerations. There are several treatment options to help relieve trichiasis.
If only a few of your eyelashes are ingrown your doctor may choose epilation. Epilation involves removing the ingrown eyelash with forceps. This treatment removes the hair from its root and can give immediate relief of symptoms. While effective, epilation is only temporary. Your eyelash will regrow to its full length in 4 to 6 weeks and may become ingrown again.
Electrolysis is a permanent form of hair removal. During electrolysis a thin probe is inserted into the hair follicle. An electric current is sent through the probe to the hair root and destroys the hair. The hair can then be painlessly removed. Hair removal is permanent and the removed hair will not regrow. Electrolysis can cause inflammation to the area where hair was removed and can be time consuming.
Laser hair removal uses focused lasers to kill the hair root. Once the root dies the hair can be easily removed. Laser treatment can cause discomfort, inflammation, scarring and pigment changes to surrounding areas. This process is time consuming and not usually recommended for removal of a few eyelashes.
Cryotherapy uses freon or nitrous oxide to freeze and destroy the hair. Cryotherapy can cause your lids to swell, skin pigmentation, and collateral damage to the surrounding areas. Collateral damaging includes damage to nearby healthy tissue and destruction of normal eyelashes. Cryotherapy is usually reserved for diffuse trichiasis in which all your lashes grow in the wrong direction.