An ingrown eyelash is an irritating and serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. As the name suggests, your eyelashes grow in the wrong direction. The growth of your eye can result in severe discomfort. An eyelash growing inward can touch your eyeball. So, it irritates the eyeball or the surrounding skin. You can experience pain, watery eyes or redness due to the problem. In serious cases, the condition can cause damage to the cornea resulting in permanent vision loss or damage to the eye. The condition medically referred to as trichiasis needs immediate medical attention. So, consulting a doctor or ophthalmologist can detect the early problem and prevent irreversible damage to your eyes.
Trichiasis is a common problem occurring due to injury, certain eye conditions, and inflammation. While home remedies or over-the-counter products can ease the symptoms associated with the problem, you need medical assistance for a permanent solution. Your ophthalmologist or optometrist can assess the problem and develop a suitable treatment plan to suit your condition. People prone to ingrown eyelash condition need to consult a doctor to get the necessary tips and suggestion to deal with the problem and prevent its recurrence.
What Is Ingrown Eyelash?
Before going into the detail of the condition, you need to know the function of an eyelash. Eyelashes are the fine hairs that grow on the eyelid. You may think that it only emphasizes the beauty of a person. But, it has more functions than making you look visually appealing. Protecting your eyes are the primary function of the small hairs. It keeps the small particles in the atmosphere like sand, dust, or debris from entering your eyes and causing damage. In normal cases, the eyelashes grow outside the eyes. But, when you have ingrown eyelash, the hair curls towards the eye itself. The lashes touching the eye can suffer persistent irritation. You will feel the presence of something in the eye all the time. So, it causes severe discomfort. You tend to rub your eyes to make the sensation disappear. It can result in infection or damage to the cornea.
Most eye problems occur when ingrown hairs get trapped under the skin. It creates a painful bump. The cells sheath surrounding the hair known as hair follicles faces the risk of infection. The bacterial infection can result in condition like styes. The involvement of the eyelashes makes the condition more powerful. But, ingrown lashes are slightly different from such disorders. The eyelashes grow on the outside of the skin. But, it grows in the wrong direction. Trichiasis can result in the upper eyelashes to curl down and inward. So, the growth occurs towards your eye instead of growing upward towards your forehead. While the lower eyelashes grow upward towards the eye instead of growing downward.
Differentiating Ingrown Eyelash From Other Eye Disorders
Trichiasis is a condition common among adults compared to children. But, the condition can affect anyone. When the eyelashes become trapped under the skin, it triggers symptoms similar to other eye disorders. The inward growth of the lashes can cause infection of the gland in your eyelid. So, the condition can result in the formation of Stye. It looks like a red lump or pimple. In most cases, the lump drains on its own after a few days. You need to get a doctor’s assistance to deal with an intense stye. So, antibiotics can help manage the condition. You need to distinguish the eye disorder like stye from ingrown eyelash. Therefore, instead of self-diagnosing, see an ophthalmologist to get a conclusive diagnosis.
Symptoms Of Ingrown Eyelash
In most cases, trichiasis starts in few eyelashes at first. Then, it gradually affects many or all of your eyelashes. When you suffer from ingrown eyelash, you can see a specific area where many or all of the lashes grow in the wrong direction. The condition can trigger several symptoms like:
- Severe irritation in the eyes
- The sensation of something present in the eye all the time
- Redness around the eye
- Watery eyes
- Elevated sensitivity to light
- Itchy eyes
- Painful eyes
If you ignore trichiasis, then the problem can cause a serious problem. Without proper medical treatment, you can injure your eye and cause other complications. For example, the severe itching can lead to scratching of the cornea and making the area susceptible to infection.
Other Symptoms Associated With Ingrown Eyelash
If another underlying eye condition triggers trichiasis, then you can see other symptoms along with the eyelashes growing inwards. Blepharitis is a common condition that often occurs with trichiasis. It can trigger other signs like:
- Inflammation of eyelid margin
- Eyelids that appear greasy
- Flaking of skin around the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Collection of mucus and crusting of eyelids (mostly in the morning)
- Eyelid sticking
- Frequent blinking
- Sensitivity to light
It is necessary to see your doctor to deal with the problem effectively. You can only manage the problem with medical assistance.
Causes Of Ingrown Eyelash
Several underlying problems can result in trichiasis. Some of the common causes that result in the problem include:
An injury to the eye can result in the development of scar tissue. It can lead to the growth of your eyelashes in a different direction. People who undergo eye surgery can also suffer from the problem.
The problem can affect growing children when they experience changes in their body. It can result in the eyelashes and hair follicles to change its shape temporarily. So, it can lead to trichiasis. In most cases, the condition is only temporary and resolves itself after some time.
The chronic eye disease causes inflammation and irritation of your eyelid. The problem can result in peeling of the skin in the eyelid. So, the affected area turns red. It can also collect mucus and bacteria. You can also observe ingrown eyelash as a result of the problem.
It is the condition caused by muscle and tissue weakness. It can cause the eyelid to fold inward. So, the problem can result in trichiasis. In most cases, the condition affects old people. Advancing age can weaken the muscle and tissue. It also affects people when they suffer an infection or injury to the eye.
Herpes Of The Eye
Herpes simplex virus can cause infection in the eye. It can result in damage to the eyelid leading to trichiasis.
It is the condition causing severe infection to the eyelid. The infection can also affect the eyelashes. It is a severe condition that needs medical treatment as soon as possible. Untreated trachoma can lead to blindness. The condition is common in developing countries.
In some rare cases, chronic illness can affect your eyelids or the surrounding mucous membranes. Steven-Johnson syndrome is one such problem resulting in trichiasis. It occurs as an adverse reaction to infection or medication.
Diagnosis Of Ingrown Eyelash
Trichiasis causes severe irritation and discomfort. When the discomfort starts affecting your regular life, you tend to seek an appointment with your doctor. An ophthalmologist can assess the issue and provide a conclusive diagnosis. In some cases, trichiasis occurs due to an underlying eye condition. Therefore, it is essential to know the reason resulting in the problem of effective treatment and prevention. Your doctor can perform the following tests to detect the issue:
The ophthalmologist can check the condition of the eye using a slit lamp. It can help your doctor perform a visual inspection of the eye. It can reveal the actual condition irritating your eyes.
Detect The Damage
The repeated irritation can affect your cornea adversely. Therefore, your doctor can perform a test to detect the potential damage to the cornea. You doctor instills a staining solution to uncover the damage. It can also shed light on the severity of your condition.
Based on the diagnosis, your doctor can suggest the ideal treatment plan to overcome the problem and stop the irritation.
Treatment Options Available For Ingrown Eyelash
The treatment option suggested by the doctor depends on the severity of the issue. If you have just a few misshapen or ingrown lash, then the doctor may opt to remove them. Your doctor treats the underlying health issue to eliminate the possibility of abnormal lash growth. So, once the lash starts growing, it follows the right direction.
In mild cases, the condition resolves itself after a few days. But, you may feel pain and irritation until the problem solves. So, your doctor can suggest the following home remedies to ease the symptoms associated with the problem. The following steps can help ease the discomfort associated with ingrown eyelash:
To treat irritation, pain, and redness of eyes, you can use the OTC eye drops or ointments. The medication available without any prescription can soothe your eyes offering you relief from the irritation.
A warm compress can provide relief from the pain and irritation caused by trichiasis. You can soak a clean cloth in warm or hot water to make the compress. Place it on your eyes for up to ten minutes to get rid of the discomfort.
Aloe vera is well known for its medicinal properties. The aloe vera extract or gel has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can reduce the swelling. You can place the extract or gel on the eyes to reduce the symptoms.
Coconut has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. So, it can prevent frequent infection occurring during to trichiasis. You can apply the coconut oil around the eyes. The antioxidants in coconut oil can keep the skin around your eye healthy.
Placing cucumber slices on the affected eye can reduce the swelling and irritation. You can manage the pain associated with trichiasis using the cucumber slices. It also rehydrates the skin. When the swelling of your eyelids goes down, you get relief from the pain and discomfort.
Honey has medicinal properties that make it one of the best home remedies to treat infections or other conditions. The anti-bacterial properties can heal eye infection triggering abnormal lash growth.
Remember, the home remedies do not cure the ingrown eyelash. It only offers you relief from the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. To get a permanent cure, you need to think about eyelash removal.
If the ingrown eyelash does not clear away on its own, then you need a doctor’s assistance to remove it. Severe or recurring trichiasis can put your eye at risk. The frequent irritation can damage your cornea leading to loss of vision. Therefore, your doctor can suggest the best eyelash removal technique to overcome distress.
It is the process of removing hair from any parts of the body. Unlike conventional methods of epilation, the eyelashes epilation needs expert removal technique. So, shaving, waxing or electric epilation is not suitable for the specific condition. Instead, your doctor can use the manual or surgical epilation to remove the lash growth. It is selected when you have only one or two abnormal eyelash growth. Your doctor performs the technique after giving local anesthesia. The lashes are removed with epilation forceps. It is the simplest technique that consumes less time to remove the lashes.
The procedure uses high-frequency electric current to remove the eyelashes, growing in the wrong direction. During the process, the current is passed through an electrode into your hair follicle. Needle-like electrode makes sure each hair follicle gets current. So, it destroys the hair roots and removes the abnormal hair growth.
Also known as cryotherapy, cryoblation is a new technique used to eliminate ingrown eyelash. It is a minimally invasive technique that causes less pain and ensures a speedy recovery. During the process, your doctor uses extreme cold to freeze and destroy the hair follicles. So, the doctor passes liquid nitrogen or argon gas towards the hair follicle using a needle-like applicator.
The invasive procedure helps with the management of severe trichiasis. The procedure is helpful when you have multiple eyelashes growing in the wrong direction. In most cases, your doctor uses local anesthesia to eliminate the problem. But, your doctor can also opt for general anesthesia, depending on the circumstances.
It is the new treatment option used for managing and treating different eye (ocular) conditions. The technique uses ionized argon as its active medium. The argon laser passed on the affected area can coagulate the cells and tissues. So, the photocoagulation can help manage the condition.
Complications Due To Ingrown Eyelash
You can never ignore the condition as it causes you irritation and discomfort. But, you need to get treatment at the right time to avoid severe complications. Failing to get proper treatment can result in the following:
- Chronic eye irritation
- Frequent eye infection
- Corneal injuries
Frequent infections triggering trichiasis can result in vision loss. So, if you suspect the condition, see your doctor. A medical professional can determine the underlying cause of the condition and prevent further damage.
Preventing Ingrown Eyelash
You need to take good care of your eyes to prevent problems like lashes growing inwards. It includes ensuring good hygiene and giving ample rest to your eyes. So, you can follow the steps suggested below to prevent the problem from affecting your eyes:
Better Eye Care Habits
You need to ensure good eye care to prevent any infection or other problems. It can include the following:
- Wash your eyes properly with water to clean the dirt and other particles.
- Remove your contact lens (if using) before washing your face or going to bed.
- Visit your ophthalmologist to get regular eye checks. It will help you detect any problems early and get the necessary treatment before it worsens.
- Take care to wash all the eye makeup before going to bed. It will prevent any particles from clogging the hair follicles of your eyelid.
Protect Your Eyes
Your eyes are the most fragile part of your body. Therefore, you need to protect it from the external factor that can cause adverse effects. So, you can follow the points suggested below.
- When you go out in the sun, you need to wear sunglasses. It will protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- While working in a hazardous environment (for example, a chemistry lab), you need to wear protective goggles. It will keep your eyes safe from the toxic fumes.
Relax Your Eyes
It is important to rest your eyes enough to prevent excess strain. To keep your eyes healthy, you need to follow the pointers:
- Sleeplessness can prevent proper fluid circulation in your eyes. Therefore, you need to get adequate sleep to offer rest to your eyes.
- To keep your eyes cool, you can apply cucumber slices and rest.
- To prevent excess strain on your eyes, blink every thirty seconds.
- You must avoid looking at the mobile phone or computer screen constantly for long hours.
- When you use a computer, keep the screen at your eye level to avoid stress to your eyes.
- You need to follow 20-20 rule while using the computer (you need to look away 20 feet away for twenty seconds when you look at the computer).
- You need to work in a well-lit area to avoid straining your eyes.
Eat Well Balanced Diet
- Vitamin A (carrots)
- Vitamin E (vegetable oil and nuts)
- Zinc (peanuts and beef)
- Vitamin C (berries and oranges)
You can follow the steps suggested above to prevent eye complications. It is always better to avoid the problem than making yourself vulnerable to the complication.
Ingrown eyelash can trigger annoying symptoms, which can cause both pain and discomfort. In some mild cases, the condition can clear on its own without any medical assistance. You can opt for some home remedies to get relief from the pain and discomfort. You can try different treatment options to find one that works best for you. If you fail to get relief, then you need to see a doctor specializing in eye and eyelid conditions. Once your doctor diagnoses the problem, you can start the ideal treatment option to manage the problem effectively. The ophthalmologist or optometrist can also suggest the right preventive measure to deal with the problem effectively. The condition needs treatment as ignoring it can lead to worse complication. So, get necessary help at the right to prevent corneal scarring or blindness.View Article Sources