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What Causes Ingrown Eyelash & What is its Treatment?

What do we Mean by Ingrown Eyelashes?

Eyes are one of the most important parts of the human body. It not only adds to the beauty of an individual but also helps an individual see and observe things. Without a good eye, it is very difficult for an individual to perform tasks to the best of his or her ability. The thing that makes the eye more beautiful is the eyelashes. Especially for a female, good and well shaped eyelashes are extremely important for them to look presentable. Eyelashes are normally present on the upper eyelids but sometimes it so happens that Eyelashes grow inwards and this leads to a term called Ingrown Eyelashes. This condition medically is termed as Trichiasis.

Ingrown Eyelashes leads to severe irritation and pain in the eyes due to the ingrown hairs of the eyelashes that rub with the eyes and lead to irritation and pain and a foreign body sensation in the eye. The cause of Ingrown Eyelashes is abnormal curling of eyelashes and them growing backwards into the skin as opposed to outside which is the norm. Ingrown Eyelashes may occur in the upper eyelid alone or both upper and lower eyelids. The treatment for Ingrown Eyelashes depends on what actually caused the hairs to grow inwards.

Ingrown Eyelash

What are the Causes of Ingrown Eyelashes?

Below mentioned are some of the causes for Ingrown Eyelashes:

Eye Injury: If there is a direct trauma or injury to the eye, the eyelids may get damaged and may lead to Ingrown Eyelashes. This is especially in cases where eyelid injuries are not appropriately treated. An eyelid can get damaged or injured due to a foreign object piercing the eye, getting hit on the eye by a ball, getting hit on the eye while playing contact sports. An eyelid can also get injured post a surgery as well.

Autoimmune Disorders: Autoimmune diseases are also one of the main causes for Ingrown Eyelashes. Lupus is one of the main disease conditions that cause Inflammation of the eyes along with Ingrown Eyelashes. Ingrown Eyelashes in such cases will be accompanied by blurred or double vision and photosensitivity.

Stye: This is also one of the causes for Ingrown Eyelashes. The glands that are situated along the eyelashes get affected by styes. In some cases, the infection spreads to the roots of the eyelashes. As a result, the growth pattern gets altered and pores close to the eyelids get infected. This ultimately results in Ingrown Eyelashes.

Psoriasis: Psoriasis around the eyelid region is also one of the causes of Ingrown Eyelashes as this condition leads to inflammation of the eyes and may damage the eyelids. It is believed that this occurs when thick patches of skin grow around the eyelids that block the normal growth of the eyelashes which ultimately leads to Ingrown Eyelashes.

Entropion: This is a condition which directly affects the eyelids of an individual. This condition is common in the elderly population and is a common cause for Ingrown Eyelashes. Entropion is a condition in which the eyelid margins flip and turn inwards towards the eyes. When the eyelids turn inwards, the eyelashes turn as well and rub against the eyes.

Blepharitis: Blepharitis is a common condition which affects the eyelids and leads to Ingrown Eyelashes. It is believed that people with blepharitis are prone to develop Ingrown Eyelashes at some point or the other. Along with Ingrown Eyelashes an individual with blepharitis will also have burning sensation of eyes, red eyes, continuous secretion of tears, blurry vision, swollen eyelids, and photosensitivity.

What are the Causes of Ingrown Eyelashes?

Apart from the above mentioned medical causes for Ingrown Eyelashes, there are also some other causes which may lead to Ingrown Eyelashes. These causes are:

  • Disfigured eyelids
  • Infection to the eye due to rubbing it with dirty hands
  • Implementation of expired and contaminated cosmetics
  • Congenital conditions
  • Plucking of eyelashes.

What are the Symptoms for Ingrown Eyelashes?

As the name of the condition suggests, Ingrown Eyelashes may result in scratching of the cornea by the ingrown hairs which may cause pain and swelling of the eyelid. This pain and burning sensation is very irritating for the individual and he or she is unable to focus on the tasks be it at home or at work. Due to continuous rubbing of the eyelashes on the eyeball, there is redness of the eye with continuous secretion of tears due to Ingrown Eyelashes. This may also lead to blurred or double vision. In some cases, the ingrown hair may even pierce the skin and cause formation of pus.

What is the Treatment for Ingrown Eyelashes?

Now the question arises, whether Ingrown Eyelashes can be cured or definitively treated. The answer to this is yes. Ingrown Eyelashes is definitively treatable and the treatment depends on the cause of it. The most preferred treatment for Ingrown Eyelashes is removal of it. However, here are a few common processes of treating the trichiasis and the removal of the ingrown eyelash. This is done by various procedures which are easy to do and are quite effective. Some of the methods of removal of Ingrown Eyelashes are:

Electrolysis: Electrolysis is the use of high frequency current to get rid of Ingrown Eyelashes but this is successful if only a few hairs need to be removed and is not effective for removing a lot of hairs and it may also lead to scar formation and is usually not recommended due to it being a lengthy process and also has many side effects with not a permanent solution for Ingrown Eyelashes.

Surgical Removal: This is the most successful and recommended way to treat Ingrown Eyelash. The surgery is done under anesthesia and the aim of the surgery is to alter the direction of the growth of the hair and thus getting rid of Ingrown Eyelashes permanently.

Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery is the utilization of liquid nitrogen to freeze the affected eyelash. This treatment is effective but only limited to a few sections of the eyelashes and not all and hence is not a definitive solution for Ingrown Eyelashes.

In summary, Ingrown Eyelashes can occur as a result of damaged eyelids. It may lead to several symptoms like redness of the eye, inflammation of the eye, vision disturbances to name a few. The basic treatment for Ingrown Eyelashes is surgical removal of the Ingrown Eyelashes and altering the path of the hair growth thus permanently getting rid of Ingrown Eyelashes.


  1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). What Is Trichiasis? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/trichiasis
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Trichiasis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/trichiasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20378577
  3. National Eye Institute. (2020). Facts About Blepharitis. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/blepharitis

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 24, 2023

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