Ingrown eyelashes can affect people at any age, but they’re more likely to develop in adults. The wayward lashes rub against the surface of your eyes, causing problems that range from mild irritation to serious conditions like a scratched cornea. Experienced ophthalmologist Troy L. Carter, M.D. in Abilene, Texas, offers comprehensive care for ingrown eyelashes, whether that means treating an underlying eye condition or removing the ingrown eyelashes. To schedule an appointment, call Texas Midwest Eye Center, LLP or use the online booking feature today.
Ingrown eyelashes (trichiasis) occur when your eyelashes grow in the wrong direction. Instead of growing outward, they turn inward toward your eyes.
You can develop ingrown eyelashes following a traumatic injury or from certain autoimmune disorders. The eyelashes can also turn inward if your eyelid becomes infected and inflamed.
Several eye conditions also cause ingrown eyelashes, including:
Tiny oil-producing glands line your eyelids near the base of your eyelashes. When these glands become blocked or infected, your eyelid turns red and swollen. This condition, blepharitis, can lead to a long-lasting problem that affects eyelash growth.
Entropion refers to age-related changes in the tissues and muscles around your eyes. As a result, your lower eyelid turns inward, forcing the eyelashes to become ingrown.
Trachoma is a bacterial infection that can scar your cornea and affect how your eyelashes grow.
When the herpes virus affects your eyes, your eyelids become thin and scarred. As a result, you can end up with ingrown eyelashes.
As ingrown eyelashes rub your eyes, they cause symptoms such as:
If an ingrown eyelash becomes infected, it resembles a stye. You have a painful, red, pimple-like lump near the edge of your eyelid.
Ingrown eyelashes can scratch the cornea or cause a corneal ulcer. Both conditions need prompt medical care to prevent serious damage and vision loss.
Dr. Carter begins by treating any underlying eye conditions associated with your ingrown eyelashes. This usually solves the problem and allows your eyelashes to return to their normal growth pattern.
Otherwise, ingrown eyelash treatment involves temporarily or permanently removing the affected lashes. After applying an anesthetic, Dr. Carter may use tweezers to pull them out. Then you wait 4-6 weeks for them to grow back and see which direction they face.
You can also have the affected eyelashes permanently removed. Dr. Carter recommends one of several techniques to eliminate the lashes. For example, laser and radiofrequency devices use heat to get rid of the ingrown lashes. Another option is electrolysis, which removes the lash using an electrical current.
If you have ingrown eyelashes, it’s important to get treatment before they scratch your eye. Call the office of Troy L. Carter, M.D., or book an appointment online today.