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Ingrown Eyelashes or Trichiasis

Updated on September 4, 2017
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Trained in dentistry, Sree is currently pursuing lab sciences. She loves researching and sharing information on various health topics.

Do you feel as if something is in your eye- a piece of grit or a tiny piece of hair that does not seem to go away? Is your eye irritated and painful, with no relief from any measure you do? You might have an ingrown eyelash.

Trichiasis or ingrown eyelashes is a condition where the eyelash faces towards the eyeball instead of away from it. This results in the constant brushing of the eyelash against the surface of the eye. Sometimes, the ingrown may brush against the eyelid margin.

What is trichiasis? Is it a serious condition?
Let's learn more about this condition and how this can be treated.

What is an ingrown eyelash?
This is defined by the eyelashes turning inwards (towards the direction of the eye) and brushes or rests against the front of the eye. This causes irritation and other symptoms such as redness of the eye and swelling. If left untreated, trichiasis or ingrown eyelashes can cause corneal scarring, injury to the eyelid margin (which can also lead to scarring), blurred vision, eye infections, ulcers in the eye region and even blindness.

Anatomy of the Eyelids
The eyelashes are anchored to the eyelids, also called the palpebrae. The eyelids are formed by reinforced skin folds. These folds are connected to nearby skeletal muscles. This attachment makes movement of the eyelids possible.

One of these skeletal muscles is called the orbicularis oculi muscle. This assists in controlling the movement of the eyelids, among other functions. When this muscle contracts, the eyelids are drawn over the eyes. This is referred to as “closing the eyes”.

The levator palpebrae superioris muscle is another muscle that controls eyelid movements. This one is attached to the upper lids. This muscle is also the reason why the upper eyelids are easier to move than the lower lids. Contraction of these muscles pulls the upper eyelids upwards. This opens the eyes, revealing the eyeballs.

The eyelids open and close voluntarily and involuntarily. These movements are called blinking. This is a protective movement. This keeps the eyes protected from foreign matter and the drying effects of prolonged exposure to air. This also distributes fluid over the surface of the eyeball. This helps keep the eyeball moistened.

Involuntary blinking usually happens about every 7 seconds. This makes sure that the surface of the eyeball is always moist. Dryness can cause irritation. It also makes the eyeballs prone to infection and injuries.

The eyelids also exhibit reflexive blinking. This is a reflexive, protective movement activated when a threat to the eyes is perceived. This movement is also activated when the eyes start to adjust to a new line of vision. The reflexive blink helps to reduce the initial blurred vision, which commonly happens with rapid refocusing.

Another function of the eyelids is anchoring point for the eyelashes.

Anatomy of the Eyelashes
The eyelashes are a row of hair that further protects the eyes. Each strand of eyelash is has a root attached to the eyelid. The eyelash root is attached to a root hair plexus. This structure, the plexus, is part of the reflexive closing of the eyelids when threat of a foreign particle is present. The plexus is also responsible for the extra sensitivity of the eyelashes.

Eyelashes are sensitive to the touch. A slight brush against it would trigger the plexus and cause the eyelids to close. A tiny airborne particle brushing the outmost tip of the eyelash immediately triggers the eyelid to snap close.

The eyelashes lining the upper eyelid are longer than on the lower lids. These can grow to lengths up to 10 millimeters. These grow in an upward curling direction. There are about 90 to 150 strands of eyelashes growing on the upper eyelid.

The eyelashes lining the lower eyelids do not usually grow in a curved direction. These are typically short and stubby, sticking straight out. However, there are people with lower lashes curved downwards.There are about 70 to 80 strands of eyelashes on the lower lids.

Fact!

The emergence of the body's eyelashes starts during the embryo stage. It starts to grow when the embryo is about 7 to 8 weeks old in the mother's womb. The eyelashes continually fall off then grow back over the course of a lifetime. When the eyelash falls off or is pulled out, it takes about 7 to 8 weeks to grow right back to its normal length.

Trichiasis or Ingrown eyelashes
Trichiasis or Ingrown eyelashes | Source

Common Causes of Ingrown Eyelashes

Trichiasis or ingrown eyelashes are caused by many possible factors. This condition is more commonly seen in adults. Common causes are infections, autoimmune conditions and inflammatory conditions that affect the eyes. These can affect the growth and the function of the eyelashes, leading to trichiasis.

1. Eye Infections
The most common eye infection that may cause trichiasis is blepharitis. This infection affects the margin or rim of the eyelids, causing it to become inflamed. Bacteria multiplying along the lid margin causes irritation leading to inflammation.The majority of people who suffer from chronic blepharitis also develop trichiasis.

Symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Eyelids are swollen
  • Burning sensation in the affected eye
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Watery eyes (will not stop tearing)
  • Crusting over the eyelids, causing the eyelashes to clump together; eyelids may even stick together, making it difficult to open the eyes
  • Loss of eyelashes (in serious infections)
  • Eye itchiness

Blepharitis results from the blockage of the small oil glands of the eyelids, called the meibomian glands. Less common causes of blepharitis include allergies and infections. Streptococcal bacteria are common infectious organisms that cause blepharitis. This condition often heals within a 4-week period.

2. Stye
When a stye grows on the eyelid, an ingrown eyelash often follows. Styes are bumps that look like a pimple. Styes may also cause blepharitis.

Stye may cause an infection to develop along the row of eyelashes and on the glands of the eyelids. This infection can spread and involve the roots of the eyelashes. This can affect the normal growth rate and pattern of the eyelashes.

The infection may also spread to the rim of the eyelids and pores located near the eyelids. This would result in the appearance of cysts and swelling in the area. Both will cause obstruction as the eyelash grows outwards. The eyelash would grow around the obstruction, resulting in an ingrown eyelash.

The usual symptoms of having a stye on the eyelids are:

  • Inflammation and redness of the affected eyelid
  • Swelling of the affected eyelid
  • Watery eyes

3. Injury or Trauma to the Eye and/or Eyelids
Some eye injuries or trauma may involve the eyelash line and the eyelids. Tiny rips on the eyelash line or near the rim of the eyelid may cause the skin to become deformed as it heals. This deformation can cause the eyelash to grow in misaligned directions. This may lead to the development of trichiasis. The eyelash near or in this misaligned skin area will grow in an abnormal direction., it may turn and grow inwards, resulting in ingrown eyelashes. This abnormally growing eyelash may grow longer and rub against the eyeball, resulting in irritation and other potential problems.

Eye injuries may result from the following:

  • Physical trauma, such as direct hit to the eye area, i.e., accidents
  • Contact sports such as boxing and football
  • Wounds after eye surgeries such as in surgical treatment of blepharitis and ectropion repair
  • Thermal burns involving the eyes and the face

4. Autoimmune Conditions
There are a few autoimmune disorders that may affect the eyes. The eye involvement may result in the development of trichiasis. Examples of autoimmune disorders are VKC (Vernal keratoconjunctivitis), lupus and SIS (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome).

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder affects the immune system. The immune cells are meant to combat foreign matter such as pathogens (viruses and bacteria) and abnormal cells. In lupus, the immune cells seek and destroy even the body's normal cells. It destroys healthy tissues and can eventually lead to malfunctions.

Lupus also affects the eyes and may cause trichiasis to develop. This autoimmune disorder causes the eyelids and the eyes to become inflamed. Other eye-related symptoms caused by lupus are dry eyes, sore eyes, blurred vision and sensitivity to light.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder that involves the mucus membranes and the skin. This condition starts with some flu-like symptoms such as general muscle weakness and slight fever. As the disorder progresses, blisters and rashes appear on the skin. Eventually, the uppermost layer of the affected skin would dry up then shed off. SIS may also affect the eyelids. This can cause the eyelashes to misalign and result in the growth of trichiasis.

In VKC or Vernal keratoconjunctivitis, the eyes recurrently become inflamed. VKC is a rare disease. Younger age groups are typically affected by this condition. The upper eyelids start to have hard bumps that look like cobblestones. The conjunctiva or the inner eyelid becomes swollen and thickened. These formations can interfere with the normal eyelash growth pattern. This can lead to the development of trichiasis.

5. Inverted Eyelids or Entropion
This condition happens among the elderly and seldom among the younger age groups. This, however, is often misdiagnosed as trichiasis. One thing is that entropion may lead to trichiasis but these two conditions are different from each other.

In trichiasis, the eyelashes grow inwards, towards the eyeballs. In entropion, the eyelashes grow in the normal outward direction, away from the eyeballs. The problem is that the eyelids, where the eyelashes are attached, are curved inwards. Hence, the eyelashes seem to grow towards the direction of the eyeball.

Experts say that entropion or the inversion of the eyelids is a results of the aging effects on the muscles. As a person ages, the lower eyelid loses its muscle tone. This tone keeps the eyelids in the proper position. Losing tone means relaxing of the muscles attached to the eyelid. This leads to loosening of the skin fold, drooping and folding inwards. The eyelashes are flipped towards the eyeball.

Thus, the eyelashes continue to grow towards the eyeball, a condition that can be considered as trichiasis related to entropion.

6. Psoriasis
This is a skin disorderwhere the skin cells rapidly multiply. This is an unpredictable condition because anything can trigger this rapid skin cell turnover. When triggered turnover rate can increase by up to 10 times greater than normal.

This boost in activity results in thickened patches of skin. The surface of these patches would often form scales.

Psoriasis commonly affects the skin and the nails. At times, it may affect hair, too, resulting in bald patches. Rarely, psoriasis may affect the eyelids. The skin of the eyelid may thicken from psoriatic effects. The thickened skin would cause the malpositioning of the eyelash. The eyelash may be malpositioned to grow towards the eyeball, i.e., ingrown eyelash.

Psoriasis may also cause inflammation. The eyelid may become inflamed and eyelash growth pattern becomes disrupted.

This skin disorder may also weaken certain muscles. The muscles holding the eyelids in place may weaken. This can lead to entropion and the development of trichiasis.

7. Other Causes
There are many other, less common conditions that may contribute to the development of ingrown eyelash. Some of the other causes may be:

  • Malformed eyelids
  • Use of contaminated or expired eye makeups and other cosmetics
  • Heavily hooded eyelids, e.g., natural eyelid features of certain nationalities
  • Congenital disorders
  • Trichotillomania (impulsive pulling off of the eyelashes)
  • People with severe acne, ingrown eyelashes may develop along the eyelid's waterline
  • Distichiasis, congenital disorder where the eyelids arise from the oil glands
  • Epiblepharon, congenital disorder where there is redundant skin fold under the eyelids
  • Eye infections arising from dirty hands frequently touching the eyes

Symptoms of Trichiasis

Ingrown eyelashes irritate the lining of the eye and the eyeball itself. This can cause pain and inflammation. Vision may become blurred as a result of the irritation and inflammation.

People with trichiasis may experience the following symptoms:

Pimple or Bump along the Eyelid's Waterline
Ingrown hair promotes the formation of bumps. These usually form along the margin of the upper and/or lower eyelid. The bump would appear when the ingrown hair has been around long enough to trigger extended inflammatory response.

The bump may look like a pimple, with the tip colored white. This may be a result of bacterial infections or folliculitis due to the irritation from the ingrown hair. These may occur either along the waterline or the eyelash line.

When a pimple or eyelash bump appears, never try to pop it. This will release the pus (white on the tip of the bump). This pus may possibly irritate. This may also harm the eyeball and nearby structures.

Popping the pimple/ bump is painful. This may also worsen the swelling around the affected area.

Swelling of the Affected Eyelid
The eyelid would often swell. This can be a result of the eye irritation, trauma or infection that caused the ingrown hair. The swelling may also be from the irritation caused by the ingrown hair.

Swollen or irritated eyelids often accompany blepharitis. Swelling is expected if this condition is the cause for the ingrown. In addition, there my be tenderness of the area around the affected eyelid. Irritation may also be present, along with a burning sensation over the affected area.

If the ingrown hits or rubs against the cornea, it will also rub against the waterline or the rim of the eyelid. This can be very uncomfortable. Scratching or rubbing the affected area may relieve the itchiness but scratching is highly discouraged. Scratching will only lead to more injuries and possible complications.

Pain When Blinking
Inflammation in the area causes pain. The eyelash scratching the eye also contributes to the pain.

When the person blinks, the ingrown eyelash rubs against the various eye structures and causes pain. This can also lead to corneal abrasion. This will also contribute to the pain.

Aside form pain, there may be a constant sensation of “something in the eye”. It might feel as if there is grit or dirt in the eye that does not seem to go away.

Corneal Abrasion
Eyelashes growing towards the direction of the eyeball will cause corneal abrasion. Even ingrown eyelashes occurring at the corner of the eye can still cause considerable scratches on the cornea.

When a person blinks, the ingrown hair scratches the surface of the eye. This is felt as if there is a constant foreign object within the eye that does not seem to go away with blinking and rubbing the eyes.

This can also lead to constant tearing or watering of the eyes. The eye becomes red and inflamed. There is also that constant need to rub the eyes, in an attempt to dislodge the foreign object. Suspect trichiasis in this case.

Watery Eyes
The affected eye detects a foreign object. In response the production of tears (water) increases. This response is an attempt at washing away that foreign object. However, this foreign objet is constantly present because it is an eyelash growing inwards. No amount of tears can dislodge this one, though.

But the eye does not know that.

Hence, the eye constantly produces tears in a continuing attempt to rid itself of the foreign object.

Blurred Vision
The cornea can become opaque because of the constant tearing of the eyes.

Eyelash Follicle Inflammation
This symptom may be a result of the infection or inflammation occurring within the area. The infection and/or the inflammation have spread and have included the follicles as well.

Inflamed Eyelids
This may be a result of the cause of trichiasis or a result from the irritation caused by the ingrown hair. The skin andthe mucosal lining within the area of the eyelid are thin andvery sensitive. A slight irritation can cause visible swelling. The causes of the ingrown (e.g., infection, blepharitis, etc.) irritates the area and promotes inflammation. The inflammation is an immune response to the irritant, in an attempt to reduce the impact of the irritant on the delicate eye area. This inflammation may also produce a burning sensation.

Pain or Discomfort
Pain is the result of the inflammation and the swelling happening in the affected area. Inflammation and swelling place pressure on the nerve endings within the affected area. This causes the pain and discomfort.

Pain and discomfort may also be from the constant brushing of the ingrown hair into the eyeball, cornea or conjunctiva.

Redness of the Affected Eye
Inflammation promotes the flooding of the affected area with water and blood. The redness of the inflamed area is from the increased blood flow. Redness is also from the skin becoming more transparent because it is stretched out from the accumulated fluids. These contribute to a bloodshot appearance of the irritated eye.

Increased Frequency of Eye Infections
The irritated eye is difficult to clean regularly because of the pain and swelling. The increased amount of tears may eventually crust. Bacteria can live on the crust and cause secondary infection in the affected eye.

Common Causes of Ingrown Eyelashes
Common Causes of Ingrown Eyelashes | Source

Home Remedy for Trichiasi

This condition should be treated promptly. Infections, inflammations, pain, inflammation and swelling can destroy the structure of the eyes, eyelids and eyelashes. The scratching over the cornea can lead to blurry vision. This may worsen and cause impaired vision and even blindness.

Take care of the eyes and perform regular eye hygiene. Even if it is painful, clean the affected area daily. Remove crusts gently if it forms.

Home treatments can help in relieving the pain and discomfort of trichiasis. Some of these may help reduce swelling. Some of these may also help in reducing bacterial infections.

Warm Compress
This is a very simple yet very effective home treatment for pain and swelling. Applying warm compress right over the affected area can provide immediate relief from pain.

This also helps reduce the swelling. The heat helps promote blood flow in the area.

Isn't swelling a result of more blood and water flowing into the area?

Yes, but that is just for the initial response to the irritant. Good blood flow is also necessary in order to keep things moving along well. If not, fluids responding to the irritation will accumulate and worsen swelling.

Thus, blood flow should be increased in order to carry out the immune cells, water and other materials that have accumulated in the affected area. If not, swelling would persist. And as swelling persists, pain also persists.

Good blood flow also promotes faster healing. Blood brings with it nutrients that new cells need in order to multiply. These new cells will replace injured and/or old cells, healing the affected area.

Applying warm compress would help to get the ingrown sooner. It is easier to pluck out the eyelash or undergo surgical hair removal when the swelling is already reduced. Ingrown hair removal is also less painful if done when the swelling is down.

To use warm compress:

  1. Take a clean piece of cloth. Soft cloth is better than rough, stiff one.
  2. Warm the cloth. Avoid using heating methods that add a lot of moisture into the cloth, i.e., steaming for long periods. The heat from a lot of water in the cloth may be too much for the eye to handle. It may even lead to scalding and burns.
  3. Check the temperature of the cloth. Pat the warm compress over the inner portion of the forearm to check. It should be warm but not scalding hot.
  4. Apply the warm compress carefully over the irritated eyelid.
  5. Keep the warm compress on for about 10 minutes.
  6. Repeat the application of warm compress twice a day until relief is achieved.

Do understand that warm compress relieves pain and swelling. it also helps with faster healing. However, warm compress will not cure or remove the ingrown hair. The offending eyelash must be removed in order to finally get rid of the swelling and pain.

Tea Bag Compress
This is also another effective home treatment for reducing swelling of the eyelid. The tannins in tea are a powerful agent in treating inflammation. These natural compounds are also potent antibacterial agents as well.

Like warm compress, tea bag compresses do not directly treat the ingrown or its underlying causes. It is, however, effective in providing relief from redness, irritation, swelling and pain. This can alsohelp in reducing the risk for secondary bacterial infections.

Tea bag compress may be applied to the affected eyelid before treatment, such as epilation. This makes it easier and less painful to pull the offending eyelash out. After treatment, tea bag compress maybe applied again to reduce swelling and prevent bacterial infection to the exposed pore/follicle. Tea bag compress after treatment also helps speed up the healing process.

This home treatment method is safe and effective. It is also inexpensive. It can help reduce the possibility of infections. The downside is that tea bag compress cannot solve the underlying cause of the ingrown. That is, if the cause is a scar, blepharitis or autoimmune disorder. It only provides relief from symptoms.

To use tea bag compress:
Any type of tea may be used. For best results, choose herbal teas known for their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and soothing properties. One good tea for home treatment of trichiasis is black tea. This is known for its abundance of natural compounds that combat infection, inflammation and swelling.

  1. Get 1 tea bag of black tea.
  2. Soak it in a cup of warm water for about 5 minutes. This will help activate the natural compounds in the tea leaves.
  3. Remove the tea bag from the water. Give the tea bag a little tap to remove some of the dripping/excess water.
  4. Place the tea bag in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  5. Once cool, place the tea bag over the affected eye.
  6. Keep the tea bag over the eye for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the tea bag and throw it away.

Never reuse the tea bag or use it to make tea. Bacteria and other contaminants may haveclung to the tea bag.

Put tea bag compress over the affected eyelid several times a day. When the swelling and pain are significantly reduced, the offending eyelash may then be removed. Apply the tea bag again over the area after removal. This will help reduce pain, inflammation and swelling that may occur. The antibacterial properties of the tea bag may also help prevent the treated area from getting infected.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains powerful medicinal properties. It has long been used to treat inflammation and a few infections. Coconut oil contains healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties. This healthy oil also contains healthy types of acids that have strong antibacterial properties.

Applying coconut oil can also help treat recurring eye infections that promote ingrown lashes. This can also be used after other treatment methods are applied on the ingrown. This can help in speeding up healing and in preventing infections on the treated area.

Coconut oil also contains antioxidants. These compounds help to reduce any complications after the ingrown is removed. The affected skin area would be able to heal faster and normally, i.e., prevents scarring. These antioxidants also help in making the skin around the eyes healthier. This can help prevent recurrences.

To use coconut oil:

  1. Clean the affected eye area.
  2. Get a clean Q tip and dip into coconut oil.
  3. Carefully apply the coconut oil directly into the eyelid.

Another way to use coconut oil over the affected area is:

  1. Get a small clean piece of cloth.
  2. Apply a small amount of coconut oil. Do not soak the entire piece of cloth. Jus a little dab will do.
  3. Apply the compress over the affected eye.
  4. Leave the coconut oil compress over the eye for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the cloth and wash for another use or throw it away.

Apply coconut oil a few times per day. Check that coconut oil is pure and unadulterated. Otherwise,

Aloe Vera
This is another herb used for hundreds of years because of its many medicinal properties. The cool gel has soothing properties effective in reducing swelling, redness and inflammation. The gel also has effective antibacterial properties.

The gel is rich in many natural compounds for its medicinal effects. Some of these compounds include

  • Polymannans
  • Acetylated mannans
  • Salicylic acid
  • Anthraquinones

Aloe vera will cure ingrown eyelashes or prevent recurrences. It cannot treat underlying symptoms. What it can do is soothe the inflammation and swelling. It may also help in preventing bacterial infections that may occur because injuries caused by the ingrown or its underlying cause.

To use aloe vera:

  1. Clean the affected eye thoroughly.
  2. Pat dry gently with a clean piece of soft cloth.
  3. Get aloe vera (fresh leaves or aloe vera product). Apply the aloe vera on the eyelids. Be very careful not to get aloe vera on the eye.
  4. Leave the aloe vera on for 10 minutes.
  5. Wash the area thoroughly with water.
  6. Pat dry.

Repeat this method several times to promote faster relief of symptoms and healing.

Honey
Honey is one of the oldest medicine. The Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used it for various healing purposes. Experts found evidences that many other ancient civilizations across the globe also used it for healing and treating numerous ailments.

This natural food is effective in healing many ailments. It can help soothe many skin conditions such as sunburns, thermal burns, even acne and eczema. This is also one of the most effective home treatments for eyelid infections.

Honey is rich in soothing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. It is safe and has no side effects. It can effectively treat any bacterial infections affecting the eyes and the eyelids. Honey can treat these infections that promote ingrown eyelashes.

This soothing amber liquid can also be used on the eyelid after the ingrown is removed. This can soothe the treated area and prevent infections that may develop.

To use honey:
There are many ways to use honey for eyelid conditions. A small amount can be directly applied to the eyelid. A warm honey compress may also be created and applied over the eyes.

  1. Put warm water in a small bowl.
  2. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of honey to the water.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Dip a small piece of soft, clean cloth into the honey water.
  5. Let the cloth soak in the honey water for about a minute.
  6. Squeeze out the excess water from the cloth.
  7. Apply over the affected eyelid.
  8. Leave the compress on for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove.

Repeat a few more times in a day to get the best results.

Turmeric Paste
Turmeric is a mainstay in a lot of South Asian curry dishes. This is also an important herb in traditional healing practices. This is used for treating numerous ailments, from various skin conditions to digestive complaints. This is also used in improving overall health and resistance to stress.

This yellow root herb has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial actions. This has been demonstrated in numerous scientific researches in the past decades.

The paste can be effective in providing relief for irritation and pain of an ingrown eyelash. Swelling may also be effectively reduced when turmeric paste is applied over the affected area.

To use turmeric paste:

  1. Place 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a small bowl.
  2. Add rose water or aloe vera gel. Add in small amounts and adjust until a paste consistency is achieved.
  3. Apply a small amount of turmeric paste over the affected eyelid.
  4. Leave the paste on for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Use a cotton swab to remove the paste.

Repeat this treatment method several times a day to promote relief. When applying paste, make sure that it is only over the eyelids. Avoid placing paste on the mucus membranes of the eyelid margin and especially into the eyes. The paste can be very irritating. If paste does get into the mucus membrane and the eye, wash it all off with large amounts of water.

Cucumber Slices
This is not just for puffy and tired eyes. Cucumber slices can also help provide relief from some of the symptoms of trichiasis. The soothing coolness of fresh cucumbers relieves the heat and pain. Applying slices over the eye also helps in rehydrating the skin over the area. This can help strengthen the skin against conditions that can cause trichiasis.

Aside from the cooling, soothing effects, cucumber slices also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Irritation around the affected eye can be reduced by active natural compounds such as beta carotene and vitamin C.

Cucumber contains an active natural compound that inhibits enzymes like COX-2. This and similar enzymes promote inflammatory processes in the body. By inhibiting these pro-inflammatory enzymes, cucumber can help reduce inflammation and related symptoms.

To use cucumber slices:

  1. Wash a fresh cucumber. Slice into 1-inch rounds.
  2. Place the cucumber slices in the refrigerator. Cool the slices for 30 minutes. This will increase the cooling effect of the cucumber.
  3. Wash the eye area to be treated.
  4. Apply the cooled cucumber slices over the affected eye.
  5. Leave these on for 15 minutes.

The cold slices will constrict the blood vessels supplying the affected area. This will reduce the amount of water and blood that accumulates in the affected area. Swelling will go down.

Medical Treatment for Ingrown Eyelash

Medications may be applied to the affected eyelid or taken orally. These can help as direct treatments to whatever is causing the ingrown to develop. Some of these can help in reducing the symptoms associated with the presence of the ingrown.

Corticosteroids
These medications are for reducing inflammation. There are many types of corticosteroids available for managing eye inflammation.

Corticosteroids do not directly treat or remove the ingrown. These are more for symptom management. These may also help with managing the underlying cause of the ingrown.

The medication is applied on both eyes.

Antibiotics
These are for fighting infections that may be causing the ingrown or a result of secondary infection due to the injuries created by the ingrown. However, this may not always directly remove or treat the ingrown. It may help in preventing recurrence if the cause is an infection. Using antibiotics may also help in managing symptoms.

Antibiotics may be applied directly on the infected area. It may be in the form of cream or eye drops. Application is on both eyes, even if the infection is only evident in one eye. This helps to keep the other eye from getting infected as well.

One example of antibiotics for eye and eyelid infection is gentamicin cream. Available brand names include Dermycin and Garamycin Topical. Gentamicin is an aminoglycoside group of antibiotics. This kills bacteria thatcan cause blepharitis. The cream is applied directly on the eyelids. Gentamicin is applied after the removal of the ingrown hair. This may also be applied to preventing secondary infections and recurrence of infection that cause ingrown formation.

Another is ciprofloxacin. The eye drop form is used for treating eyelid and eye infections that contribute to ingrown eyelashes. Applying eye drops can help in reducing symptoms of infection such as pain and redness. Applying this after manual removal of the ingrown can helpwith preventing secondary infections.

Artificial Tears
These are applied to manage dry eyes. The eyes produce more tears during the initial stages of the ingrown. As the ingrown persists, the cornea is at risk for scratches. To reduce this, applying artificial tears may be effective.

Artificial tears are ocular lubricants. These help manage discomfort and irritation. The artificial tears will promote smooth blinking and keep the cornea from getting scratched. This helps in reducing the possibility of corneal scratching.

This treatment method is more for symptom relief. Artificial tears cannot remove the ingrown or prevent recurrence.

To use artificial tears:

  1. Clean the area to be managed.
  2. Clean hands to prevent infection.
  3. Pull the lower lid down to form a small pocket.
  4. Look upwards.
  5. Apply a tiny amount of ointment into the small pocket.
  6. Gently blink the eye then close it for about 1 minute. This helps spread the ointment and for better absorption.
  7. Repeat application with the other eye.

When applying the ointment,make sure that the tip of the container does not touch the eye or eyelid. This will reduce further injuries or irritation. This also helps in preventing any infection from spreading.

Symptoms of Trichiasis and Medical Treatment for Ingrown Eyelash
Symptoms of Trichiasis and Medical Treatment for Ingrown Eyelash | Source
Corticosteroid
Brand Names
Side Effects
Safety Precautions
Directions
Prednisolone
Pred Forte, Predsol, Omnipred
* Blurring of vision
* Use only under physician's directions
To apply:
* Reduces inflammation and redness
 
* Mild eye irritation
* Follow directions of use
* Tilt the head back and pull lower lid down while looking upwards
* Eye drop form for managing eye inflammation
 
 
* Use only for a short period
* Place drop of medication into the eyelid
 
 
 
* Do not allow tip of dropper to touch the eyelid- to prevent infection from spreading
* Close eye for about a minute
 
 
 
 
* Keep medication from draining out by pressing the spot where the eye and nose meets
Fluocinolone
 
 
Caution with use for:
* Clean the area to be treated
* Manage inflammation and redness from disease or infection
 
 
* People with allergies to steroids
* Apply a small, thin line of cream along the lid margin
* Available as eye cream
 
 
* Pregnant and breastfeeding women
* Cover the skin with a small piece of clean cloth to aid with better absorption
 
 
 
* People with kidney or liver disease
 

Removal of Trichiasis

Home treatments can help relieve symptoms such as pain and inflammation. However, most of these are not effective in treating the underlying cause. The ingrown won't go away with these home treatments. The ingrown won't go away if left untreated. Treatments that target the underlying cause and the actual removal of the ingrown are necessary. Otherwise, complications may occur if the ingrown is left untreated.

The most effective and immediate treatment for trichiasis is manually removing the eyelash. This, however, is not effective in preventing recurrences.

There are other methods as well. There's surgery, cryoablation and others.

The offending eyelash must be removed in order to treat trichiasis. There is no other recourse for this. Unless the problem eyelash is removed, the symptoms will persist.

Epilation Using Tweezers
This is a manual removal method. It's simply locating the offending eyelash and plucking it out using a pair of tweezers. Epilation can be done at home, if the person knows how to do it properly. Otherwise, it's best to get an expert to remove the offending eyelash.

Epilation is effective in removing the ingrown but is not a permanent solution. This only removes the eyelash but does not treat the underlying cause for the formation of the ingrown. This treatment method is only applicable if the ingrown is only 1 to 2 eyelashes.

At times, the ingrown may grow back even after epilation. The eyelash will grow back in a few weeks and turn into an ingrown again if the underlying cause is not treated properly.

It is best to have the ingrown checked by a medical professional to assess the underlying for proper treatment.

Before pulling the ingrown out, check for crusting, pus and indications of an infection. If there is, do not touch the ingrown. Have a medical health practitioner deal with the ingrown.

Pulling out the ingrown hair while in the presence of active infection promotes a bigger problem. The exposed pore/follicle/root will be breeding ground for pathogen (bacteria, virus). The infection may spread and worsen.

Eye infections should be treated first before the ingrown is pulled out.

Utmost care must be observed when removing the ingrown eyelash with tweezers. The eye is a very delicate area and the slightest injury can easily become serious. Do this at home if the hand is steady enough. Take great care to avoid getting the lining of the eyelid and the cornea from getting scratched or hit. Shaky hands may scratch the tweezers against the eyelids. Worse, it may even scratch the cornea deeply.

To remove the eyelash at home:

  1. Find a good pair of tweezers. Clean this well with soap and water.
  2. Wipe the tweezer down with cotton soaked in alcohol.
  3. Set aside the tweezer on a clean surface.
  4. Clean the eye area well. Remove any visible crusts around the affected area.
  5. Pat the area dry with a soft cloth.
  6. Wash hands thoroughly to avoid getting bacteria and other contaminants into the eye.
  7. Sit down in front of a mirror. Make sure that this spot is well lighted.
  8. Locate the ingrown.
  9. Check that the area is not inflamed or swollen. There should be no pus either.
  10. Separate the ingrown lash.
  11. Hold the tweezer with the dominant hand.
  12. Hold the affected eyelid with the hand.
  13. Press a finger on other side of the ingrown lash.
  14. Carefully place the tweezer at the base of the ingrown.
  15. Grip the hair by the base firmly.
  16. Pull the eyelash in one swift upward movement.
  17. Wash the area again and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Epilation may also be done by a doctor. A local anesthetic agent will be applied on the affected area. General anesthesia is not needed. This procedure is fast and simple, with little risk for side effects or complications. The doctor will then pull out the ingrown using epilation forceps.

Electrolysis
This method uses high frequency electrical current. Applying this to the ingrown hair can help remove it with low chance of recurrence.

However, this is only effective on a few eyelashes. It can remove individual ingrown hairs but not on clumped ones.

Electrolysis is effective. However, it has some unpleasant side effects. Recurrence is low but the treated eyelash may no longer grow back. Scars may also form on the rim of the eyelid adjacent to the treated area.

This method is tedious. The electrolysis is applied to individual eyelash. This could take some considerable time.

The current passes through a fine needle. This looks and functions like an electrode. The current is applied on the follicle of the ingrown hair. The current will destroy the hair follicle, effectively preventing regrowth of the ingrown.

Electrolysis can be carried out using any of the three methods available. It may be a thermolysis type, galvanic type or a blend of the two. This treatment method can be used on different hair and skin types.

Best results for electrolysis are through multiple sessions. The ingrown should be in its growing phase at the time of electrolysis. This will produce the best results, with the least chances for recurrence.

The multiple session is probably the largest disadvantage of this treatment method. It can be quite difficult to reach the root of the curled eyelash. This is one of the main reasons why multiple sessions are needed. The curled eyelash would be “burned” or destroyed in stages until the hair follicle become easily accessible.

Electrolysis is highly effective but is technique-sensitive. If the person doing the electrolysis is not highly skilled, recurrence may happen. The procedure may even irritate the eye further when done by unskilled hands.

Another potential disadvantage is the cost. Electrolysis is expensive.

Surgery
This is the most effective in removing trichiasis and in treating it for good. An anesthetic agent is applied into the affected eyelid and the ingrown is removed permanently. Recurrence is unlikely.

A surgical procedure may also be done to correct the ingrown. This may be by removing bumps or correcting scars that promote abnormal growth direction of the eyelashes.

Surgery may also involve the manipulation of the eyelid margin. The surgeon may rotate the entire eyelid margin to get the eyelash growing away from the eyeball.

Most of these surgical procedures are done within a short period. These are also safe, with minimal risks during and after the procedure.

The results of the surgical procedure are permanent. Ingrown will not recur. The only disadvantage is the cost. Even with the simple and quick surgical removal, it may rack up to around a few hundred dollars.

Cryotherapy
This is a new treatment option and is minimally invasive. This procedure includes the application of liquid nitrogen on the ingrown. Argon gas may also be used on the ingrown. Both compounds will freeze the offending eyelash.

This treatment option is also called cryoablation.

The eyelash may be plucked out or removed first then the remaining follicle will be frozen with liquid nitrogen. This will prevent new eyelash from growing on this affected follicle.

Cryotherapy is also a very effective treatment. However, this may only be used on certain sections of the eyelash line.

Cryoablation removes the offending eyelash in 3 phases. First, the ablative material (e.g., argon gas or liquid nitrogen) is applied. This will form ice crystals within the follicular cells (root of the eyelash). Next phase is the interruption of the follicle's blood supply. The last phase is the initiation of programmed cell death called apoptosis.

This treatment method is the least traumatic of all removal methods for ingrown eyelash. Recovery time, therefore, is faster. This is also a painless procedure.

However, there are a few side effects. Cryoablation permanently removes the ingrown. That means no more eyelash will grow from the treated follicle. This procedure might also damage nearby nerve endings and surrounding tissues. There is also a slight possibility of eye damage from the cryoablative substance. Hence, it is important that the person performing this technique-sensitive procedure is highly skilled to reduce the risks involved.

Another downside to this effective treatment is the cost. Cryoablation is an expensive procedure.

Argon Laser
This is a new approach to treating ingrown eyelashand many other eye conditions. This procedure uses ionized argon that passes through as a non-divergent beam of light (light is in the blue and green visible spectrum). This beam of light acts as a photocoagulant. It coagulates or shrinks tissues and cells that it hits.

This procedure is safe and effective in treating trichiasis. This is according to a study published by the Ophthalmology Department of the Jordan University Hospital in Amman, Jordan.

A local anesthetic agent is applied to the treatment area. Next, 30 to 40 shots of the blue argon light is directed into the ingrown's follicle.

This is safe and effective, with low risk for side effects. However, this procedure can lead to notching of the treated eyelid and hypopigmentation. There are also incidences when the ingrown recurs because the follicle is not totally destroyed. Another drawback is that argon laser is a very expensive procedure.

Conclusion
Ingrown eyelash can be a painful and very irritating condition. It has to be treated and the offending eyelash must be removed as soon as possible. If not, damage to the eyes may happen. If the damage is great enough, blindness may happen. Infections may also set in on the injured areas of the eye and the eyelid.

There are many treatment options available. The best treatment is the one that directly treats or cures the underlying cause of the ingrown. Best results are achieved if you consult and work with a doctor to treat the ingrown eyelash.

  1. "What Causes an Ingrown Eyelash and How Do You Treat It?". Health Line. Retrieved September. 4, 2017.
  2. "Trichiasis". American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved September. 4, 2017.
  3. "Trichiasis: When Eyelashes Grow Toward the Eye". WebMD. Retrieved September. 4, 2017.
  4. "Trichiasis Surgery". U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved September. 4, 2017.
  5. "Treatment of trichiasis with a lid cryoprobe". British Journal of Ophthalmology. Retrieved September. 4, 2017.

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