The mites of the eyelash or the Demodex folliculitis is a parasite found in the follicles of our faces, mainly, in the nose, cheeks and most especially the eyelash area. This condition is usually harmless, and most people live their day to day lives without being bothered by the fact that a worm-like parasite is currently feeding off his or her oils. Anyone can have it although babies are born with absolutely no parasites on them.

Eyelash Mites

Eyelash mites causes

Eyelash mites

Healthy Body Daily has found that older people are more prone to having mites on their eyelash because their immune system is weaker allowing an easy entry for bacteria and according to recent estimates over 80% of Americans have parasites. These parasites usually are positioned face down into the hair follicle, and they feed off waste material and build up from our faces. These little critters don’t do anybody any harm.

Some scientists have even concluded that there is a symbiotic relationship between eyelash mites and human beings. They claim that mites on the eyelash remove dirt and oil from our follicles and in turn we let them live on our faces. Even when the number of these mites is found to be too high, but the patient is not suffering from any side effect, doctors tend to leave it alone.

However, in cases where the number of demodex is too high and it is coupled with your eyelash area becoming irritated, infected and inflamed, it is important to have a doctor check this out immediately. Also, it was found that although usually more than one mite on the eyelash is found in a single follicle, too many of them would cause the eyelashes to fall out.

Life cycle and survival

In general, the life cycle of the mites on your eyelash varies between two and three weeks. During that period, the female mite will lay eggs inside the hair follicle, at a close distance from the sebaceous glands. From the eggs, the larvae are going to appear, transforming themselves into full-grown mites. The male mite will leave the hair follicle in search of a female. On the other hand, the female mites remain at the level of the respective hair follicle.

Both types of eyelash mites consume epithelial cell cytoplasm, penetrating the cell membrane with ease. The infestation with the folliculorum mite leads to the hyperplasia of the follicles, with an increased keratinization process at the base of the eyelashes. The mixture between the keratinization and lipids leads to the appearance of a characteristic, cylindrical dandruff. It is believed that the dandruff is actually the result of the mite scraping around the follicle.

Eyelash Mites Causes

As we said earlier newborns are not at all born with mites in eyelashes but can get it shortly afterwardsBelow is a brief description on how you get mites in eyelash. Statistics and figures from research reveal that people of middle ages to old are more liable to eyelash mites. Most of these factors cut across

Cause of mite of the eyelashes

Secretion of Too Much Oil

Facial mites may cause too many mites on your eyelash (a condition called demodicosis) if you produce or have too much body oil. According to CHD, Consumer Health Digest, too much oil seems to cause anyone to get facial mites including mite on eyelashes.

Mites on the eyelash from eye makeup

If you like to put on makeup during the night you are increasing your risks of getting more eyelash mites and worsen it. According to Dr. Oz, failure to remove makeup before going to bed could bring about demodicosis and is equally unhealthy.

Unhygienic facial conditions

People who seem less concerned with their hygiene can always expect to get many problems from facial mites. Use of makeup can cause contamination and thus be a source of dirt. Ladies must be very keen when using all eye makeup such as mascara, concealers and other eye beauties. Being not concerned with your cleanliness can lead to have mites on your eyelash. In fact, it is advisable to throw away all your eye beauty products that have been in use for quite some time and acquire new facial makeup.

Suppressed immunity

Some symptoms of mites on the eyelash infestation might not be noticeable in many people. However, people whose body immunity has been compromised are more likely to be infested with Demodex folliculorum and demodex brevis. Such include people living with HIV, patients with leukemia especially children or individuals who use medication that can suppress their immunity (immunosuppressive drugs)

Eyelash Mites Symptoms

The process of identifying mites on your eyelash is not easy unless infestation levels when the symptoms begin to show up. Symptoms are critical part which determines what treatments to use in either Demodex folliculorum or demodex brevis species. The symptoms for mites on the eyelashes may involve the following:

Itching

One common symptom with mites in eyelash is itchy feeling from your eyelids. As they burrow into the skin they not only feed on skin cells and oil, but also overwhelm tissues hence itching. Itching could be slight during the day but may go up at night.

Burrows or large pores

Presence of burrows on skin surface can also be due infestation of facial mites. These pores may also trigger itching which indicates a start to demodex infestation of the eyelids. At this point you may visit your doctor for examination.

 Red skin and Crusting Rosacea symptoms

Another possible way you can use to know that you have eyelash infestation is by getting a rosacea symptom checkup. However, Grow Youthful.com states that, the mites in your eyelashes may not cause this condition (rosacea) but, the bacteria the demodex mites themselves carry is actually attributed to demodex symptoms. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Redness in the center of your face,
  • Stinging and burning skin,
  • Skin dryness, roughness and scaling,

Staphylococcal Demodex Blepharitis

Apart from rosacea, another eye problem that can be vital in telling eyelash mites symptoms is by studying Blepharitis caused by staph or staphylococcus bacteria.  The biological reason for it is facial and mites on eyelash could be the carries of Staph strains of bacteria. Other symptoms demodicosis include hair thinning, adult acne, blackheads, and dilated veins.

Eye Mites in Humans

Eyelash mites in human

Mites on eyelashes

CBS Miami reporter Ted Scouten began looking into the problem after he was diagnosed with eye mites — known medically as Demodex Mites — along the base and lid of his eyelashes. He wanted to share his story to help others avoid his fate.

Eye mites on human are microscopic parasites, spread by pets and people, and spend most of their time buried in hair follicles. They thrive on the human natural oils produced by the body especially on the faces where they crawl, eat and reproduce.

Norman Herskovich, an optometrist at Elite Family Eye Care, in Fort Lauderdale, said the mites are most active while people sleep. They try to avoid light, so what ends up happening, as awkward as this sounds, when you go to the bed at night they come out and they mate, and they will actually reproduce. They have a two- to three-week cycle and will eventually die, but their offspring will continue the process.

The eyelash mites on human don’t necessarily cause any problems, but having too many can cause irritation or inflammation of the eye area.

The actual procedure allows me to exfoliate debris that would otherwise obstruct the Meibomian glands, which produce a component of our tears known as the lipid layer, or oily layer. The oily layer is critical to keeping our tears from prematurely evaporating, as Norman Herskovich states.

The procedure takes about 20 minutes.

These little mites, Demodex, are found everywhere, as Herskovich said. They are without question on floors. So we will step on these mites — transfer them from one location to another. And as far as pet owners, as I have seen in my experience, pet owners tend to have more Demodex in their eyes than non-pet owners although it’s totally possible to not have contact with pets and still get these.

According to Herskovich, it’s critical to get your eyes checked regularly; to be sure the glands that produce oil, located in the upper and lower lids, are healthy.

Eyelash Mites Pictures

Demodex mites are tiny parasites. Two of the over 60 species of mites are known to exist in humans.  Generally, adults fall in between 0.3 – 0.4mm long. Male Demodex mites can measure nearly 0.2 mm. Both male and female adults have a transparent membrane body. Have a look at these pictures.

While demodex folliculorum species live in the hair follicles, demodex brevis inhabits in the sebaceous glands. Demodex brevis usually come out of the glands at night to avoid light. This is also the time they lay eggs. Both species can survive for a good number of hours and can live up to two days in animal fat. When there are too many mites in eyelashes or on face the phenomenon is referred to as Demodicosis. Our photos will help you figure this.

Eyelash Mites Mascara

Mascara is one of the most commonly used pieces of makeup out there. I don’t know about you, but it can really brighten my eyes on a day when I look dead tired.  Apparently your eyelashes are a popular place for bacteria to grow, and mascara only worsens the situation. According to Healthy Body Daily, older people are more prone to having eyelash mites because their immune system is weaker allowing an easy entry for bacteria.

On certain occasions, you may not wash eye makeup off because you are too tired. After not washing the mascara off for one night, these mites have already started eating at your mascara.  You do not need to wear mascara to get mites on eyelash, but it certainly increases the chance that you might have them. Does your mascara start to become dry and clumped up the day after you don’t wash it off? It is best just to clean your makeup the night you wear it because after that is when it starts to become crusty and even harder to wipe off.

The female mites are shorter and rounder than males. They fertilize and lay eggs on your eyelashes, which eventually hash and create their own eggs. Your eyelashes are a breeding ground for eyelash mite eggs! A female can lay up to 20 eggs in one eyelash! Anyway, if we have 200 lashes on each eye and 20 eggs on each lash, then that means we have 4,000 eggs on each eye. They can survive up to a few weeks.

The makeup you use is very important; your face is the only thing you have that will stay with you through time and reflect what how much time you have been through! It is worth spending a bit more money than in the future having wrinkles or no eyelashes because you did not wipe your makeup off and gave into these mites! I am disgusted now knowing what is really growing on my eyelashes.

Eyelash Mites Treatment

Eyelash mites treatment

How to get rid of mites on eyelash

By now, you must be wondering if you too have these worm-like mites or not. If you suspect to be having them, the next big concern will be how to get rid of eyelash mites. We are going to discuss the various ways to use to treat demodex mites on your eyelashes or eyebrows.

Proper eyelid cleansing

The first way to get rid of mites on eyelashes is to carefully and thoroughly clean your eyelids, including the edges of your eyelids to remove all the oils that these mites feed on. You can use baby shampoo, tea tree shampoo or any special cleansers to ensure your eyelids are thoroughly cleaned. In addition, you can use baby soap to wash your face twice a day as this can ensure you keep human facial mites off your face.

Over the counter antibiotic ointments

You need to ensure these ointments are ophthalmologically tested to ensure they do not affect your eyes. A good way is to get a recommendation from an ophthalmologist. Alternatively, you can try Tobradex.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is one simple way to get rid of mites in eyelashes. Rub tea tree oil on your eyelashes every night for about six weeks and they will be gone. This is one of the popular Dr. Oz eyelash mites’ treatments you can try as it was once recommended by Dr. Oz.  As a matter of fact, tea tree oil is a great way to kill mites but needs proper use to avoid it getting into your eyes.

Lavender oil Treatment

In a similar way you use tea tree oil to kill eyelash mites; you can also use lavender oil.  This is a simple home remedy can work effectively as a demodex mites treatment. Apply or rub lavender oil on your eyelids every night as you go to sleep.

Stop using eye makeup

Stop using your eye makeup until you have fully treated mites on your eyelashes. When you finally begin using makeup again after the mites have fully been treated, throw away any makeup you initially had and buy new ones to avoid contamination. Furthermore, ensure you do not share eye makeup.

More tips on how to get rid of eyelash mites

Besides the above ways to kill demodex mites on face, below are some tips that can ensure you completely deal with this nuisance of mites in eyelashes.

  • If you are married, ensure you spouse is also checked for face mites. These mites can move from one spouse to another easily due to the scaly body that gets attached easily on hair strands i.e. they spread via casual contact.
  • Ensure your pets are checked since they too can be vulnerable to these mites. Although, the ones that affect dogs are of a different genus, human eyelash mites can also be hosted in pets.
  • Buy new pillows and bed sheets since these mites might be hiding in them. If you do not do so, even after treatment, it is easy to get re-infected.
  • You can also try various specialized products in the market especially lotions such as Demodex Lotion Eyes n Mites.
  • Rubbing your eyelids with Ocusoft plus Lid Scrub pads and letting it stay overnight has shown some positive results in eliminating this mites after 3-4 weeks.

To conclude, you deserve to know that facial mites do help in removing the bad dirt and harmful oils on your face and thus have a symbiotic relation with human beings. However, when their population is so high, they could cause some of the mites on eyelashes symptoms we mentioned earlier.

At home, the patient should follow these instructions:

  • Wash sheets and pillow cases with hot water (+dry at high temperature)
  • Discard of the pillows
  • Makeup cannot be used for 1 week
  • Old makeup should be discarded as well
  • Tea tree soap and tea tree hair shampoo – recommended choices
  • Spouse evaluation required (possible infestation)
  • Lip scrub pads – used for the scrubbing of the eyelash margins and the eyebrows (rinsing is not required)
  • Application of antibiotic/steroid ointment (only for one week, then replaced with bland ophthalmic ointment – this should be used for three-four weeks)
  • Lid scrubs should be performed at least two times per week
  • Follow-up required every six months.

Natural remedies

One of the most effective natural remedies against the infection with eyelash mites is represented by the tea tree oil. It is important that this remedy is applied only under the professional guidance of an ophthalmologist. Also, the tea tree oil has to be diluted to 50% concentration. When applying it, make sure that you stick just to the margins of the eye. Avoid getting it into the eye, as it is quite irritating and it will cause a lot of discomfort.

Prevention of eyelash mites

Eyelash mites prevention

Grooming eyelash to prevent mites

While you cannot actually prevent the mites from living on your body, you can prevent an infestation. After you have followed the steps above and removed the excessive pests, you can begin the prevention process. If you don’t take the advice and do what it recommended, the mites could come back.

  • Have your spouse or significant other checked for eyelash mites. Because they are able to be transferred from person to person, it is essential that you have everyone in your home checked. Usually children will not get them, but your husband or wife can.
  • Check your dogs as well. While it may sound odd, dogs can get mites on eyelash It is best to take them to a vet for a checkup. You wouldn’t want to have to go through the process of removal again because you neglected to check your pet.
  • Buy new make-up. It is suggested that you purchase new eye make-up, but some people throw away all of their stuff and start new. If you choose not to start over, you will need to replace your eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara.
  • Buy new bedding. This includes everything from mattress covers to pillows. If you have been battling an issue with eyelash mites, you can never be too careful. Washing your stuff in hot water may get rid of the problem, but it isn’t always completely effective. Money can play a role in this but if you have the available resources, you should definitely replace everything you can.

Eyelash mites may sound like a pretty serious issue, especially if you have never heard of them before. They are pretty ugly little things, but are virtually harmless unless you develop an infestation. Remember to keep up with your personal hygiene and regularly wash your face and make-up off. Being proactive is better than reactive in this case.

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More references

  1. Causes and treatments for eyelash mites: https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/eyelash-care/eyelash-mites.html
  2. Causes and home remedies for mites on eyelash: http://www.wowremedies.com/eyelash-mites-causes-remedies/
  3. Some people have this problem and they don’t know: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/eye-mites-millions-of-people-have-them-and-dont-know-it/
  4. The meaning of mites on eyelash and how they look: http://heydoctor.org/eyelash-mites.html
  5. Watch for eyelash mite after mascara: http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa12/2012/11/use-mascara-watch-out-for-eyelash-mites.html