How To Treat Eyelash Mites

You might not like to think about it, but you probably have tiny mites living in your eyelashes right now. Most of the time, these mites, called Demodex, aren't much of a problem, as per the American Association of Ophthalmology (AAO). In fact, they are considered part of our skin's common microbiome because they consume sebum and dead cells from our skin. That being said, problems can arise when these critters begin to overpopulate, according to WebMD

An excessive amount of eyelash mites can result in issues, such as eye irritation, dandruff around the base of the eyelash, or lead the eyelashes to grow in the wrong direction. Symptoms include itchy, red eyes, crusty sections at the base of your lashes, and tearing and blurry vision. The AAO reports that between 42% to 81% of people diagnosed with blepharitis also have too many Demodex mites. Keep in mind, blepharitis is when your eyelids or lash line becomes inflamed, itchy, and red. Luckily, if you have been diagnosed with having too many eyelash mites, there are some things you can do to treat them.

Persistence pays off

There are several topical treatments that come in a variety of over-the-counter wipes, sprays, and scrubs that can help reduce the population of Demodex (via AAO). Usually, these treatments are applied twice a day, for one to three months. Other times, your ophthalmologist may need to prescribe a stronger medication, such as a topical steroid, to relieve inflammation. Fortunately, using these treatments reduces the amount of dead skin around your lashes, as well as the population of mites, explains the Cleveland Clinic.

While you probably won't be able to get rid of all Demodex, you should be able to get an infestation under control by keeping your skin clean. Therefore, be sure to consistently wash your face twice a day and exfoliate once a week. Keep in mind, washing your towels and sheets with hot water and drying them on high heat may help keep eyelash mite populations down, according to WebMD.