If eyelash mites residing in your eyelashes sounds more sci-fi than reality, think again. In fact, everyone has some number of eyelash mites as part of the body’s natural microbiome. These critters are usually harmless and somewhat helpful, but not always.


At our optometry office in Riverside, California, Dr. Richard Bozner and the team use advanced technology to evaluate your eyes and lashes and address any problems you’re experiencing.


Let’s explore eyelash mites, including signs that it might be time to seek treatment.


The basics of eyelash mites


Also known as Demodex mites, eyelash mites are eight-legged, cigar-shaped parasites that dwell near hair follicles. While they can be present in other areas of your face, they usually gather around your eyebrows and eyelashes.


So tiny, eyelash mites can only be seen with a microscope.


In ideal scenarios, eyelash mites go unnoticed. They simply do their job — cleaning up dead skin cells and excess oils on your face — throughout their brief lifespan, 14-18 days.


When eyelash mites cause problems


If you have a blocked oil gland, which gives eyelash mites an overabundance of food, the mites can excessively reproduce. And that’s when problems arise. Eyelash mite populations can also get out of control as a byproduct of older age or poor immune function.


Excessive eyelash mites can lead to bothersome symptoms, such as:

  • Blepharitis, or inflamed eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Burning or stinging eyelids
  • Crusty outer eyelids
  • Dry, itchy skin or dandruff
  • Eye pain
  • Eyelashes that grow in the wrong direction
  • Sticky eyelashes



In severe cases, an eyelash mite infestation can damage oil glands near your eyelids or lashes.


What to do about bothersome eyelash mites


If you think you may be dealing with eyelash mite problems, our team can confirm or rule out the issues through a comprehensive eye exam. Because eyelash mite symptoms are similar to symptoms of other eye conditions, you need a proper diagnosis to ensure proper care.


If it turns out that you need eyelash mite treatment, we may recommend a special ointment, medicated cream, or wipes containing tea tree oil. You may also need to gently soak and clean the affected area several times each day until your symptoms subside.


Oral medications used to treat rosacea may help in severe cases.


To prevent additional eyelash mite symptoms, dispose of any cosmetics or skin care products you used around your eyes during the outbreak. Meanwhile, don’t share makeup, such as mascara, as the mites can spread to another person.


To learn more about eyelash mites or get the diagnosis or treatment you need, call Dr. Bozner’s Vision Lab Optometry today.

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