What Causes Pain In Eyelashes & How is it Treated?

About Pain in Eyelashes:

Pain in eyelashes is due to numerous causes. The pain is not on the eyelashes but above or beneath them. It can occur due to any disease of the eyelashes.(1)

Eyelashes are made of dead cells that consist mainly of keratin and are therefore unable to sense pain. The nerve signals do not travel through the dead cells.

The base of the eyelashes is covered with nerve fibers. When these nerves sense pain, it feels as if the eyelashes are aching.

Cause of Eyelash Pain

There are numerous conditions that can cause pain in eyelashes.

Ingrown Eyelashes

Trichiasis is a common cause of ingrown eyelashes. In this condition, the eyelashes grow inward and rub in your eye and inner eyelid.

It leads to irritation and pain and also includes:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a common cause of inflammation of the eyelid that can lead to pain in eyelashes. It occurs when the bacterial growth spreads to the skin near the eyelashes or when the oil glands in the eyelids get blocked.

The symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Dryness
  • Itchiness
  • Watery eyes
  • Foaming in the eye
  • Crust formation in the eyelids and eyelashes.

Stye

A red bump along the margin of the eyelid is known as a stye. It looks like a pimple or a boil as it has pus-filled inside.

A stye is painful and can cause the eyelashes to hurt. The other symptoms of a stye include:

  • Swollen Eyelids
  • Redness
  • Watery Eyes
  • Eyelash Mites

There are two types of mites that live on human skin, which are:

  1. Demodex folliculorum
  2. Demodex brevis

Those who are found with a large number of mites on the skin are diagnosed with demodicosis. These mites can affect the follicles of any part of the body, including the chest and ear. They can also be found on the face including eyelashes.

Eyelash mites can lead to eye irritation, including:

  • Crusting
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning
  • Eyelash dandruff
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye
  • Itching
  • Blurring of vision
  • Chronic blepharitis

Entropion

The condition in which the lids fold inward is known as entropion. This causes the eyelashes to rub against the eye leading to irritation.

There is a pain in the eye and eyelashes along with:

  • Watery eyes
  • Mucus discharge
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light and wind
  • The crust in the eyelid
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye

Eyelash Lice

When Phthirus pubis (pubic lice), feed and live on eyelashes, the condition is known as phthiriasis ciliaris. These are tiny lice that attach to the hair.

It is a rare conditionthat can occur if you touch your hair with pubic lice and then touch your eyelashes.

The lice can lead to itchiness, causing pain in the eyelashes. Other symptoms include:

  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Swelling of eyelids
  • Grittiness
  • Brown and black spots along the lashes

Ptosis

Ptosis is a condition in which the upper eyelids bend downwards. The lashes touch the surface of the eye causing irritation.

The condition also affects the lower eyelid and results in the lower eyelid brushing against the eyes. Inthis case, the condition is known as lower eyelid lash ptosis.

There is pain along with:

  • Mucus discharge
  • Redness
  • Floppyeyelids
  • Foreign body sensation in the eye

Distichiasis

Distichiasis is a condition in which there are two rows of eyelashes.

The main cause of this condition is a genetic mutation but can also be caused due to trauma and inflammation. The extra row of eyelashes would cause irritation that can also be painful.

There may also be the following symptoms:

Other Causes

Eyelashes can also hurt if you wear eyelash extensions. The extensions are glued to the base of the real eyelashes. The glue used can make the eyelashes hurt.(2) This can also lead to eyelid or eye pain including the following symptoms:

Also, using mascara on the eyelids can hurt them. The mascara contains a blend of a few chemicals, which some people would be allergic to. The allergic reaction can lead to pain in the eyelashes.

How Is Pain In The Eyelash Treated?

The eyelash pain can be treated depending on the underlying cause. The treatments include:

  • Eyelash Removal: In case of ingrown eyelashes, the doctor can remove them with tweezers to give relief.
  • Antibiotics: Styes, blepharitis can be treated with antibiotics. It may be given in the form of eye drops, ointments, and pills.
  • Permethrin: The lice and mites of the eyelash are treated with permethrin. It is prescribed in the form of an ointment, cream, or shampoo.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil can be used to kill eyelash mites. It can irritate the eyes.Therefore, it gets important to speak a doctor before using it.
  • Eye Drops: The redness and swelling of the eyes can be reduced with the help of eyedrops.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be required in case of any structural issues.

It is important to consult a doctor, ifalong with eyelash pain there is pain in the eyes, persistent swelling, increasing redness, vision change, and difficulty in opening eyes.

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