Eyelashes are one of the things that we cannot live without. They work to keep airborne dirt, dust, and debris out of the eyes, and their whole purpose is to protect the eyes from harm.
The eyelashes, therefore, work as a barrier to prevent your eyes from becoming irritated or damaged.
So, what happens when your eyelashes turn against you and start poking you constantly in the eye?
Is there anything worse than getting an eyelash in your eye?
The pain is so irritating, and you can end up with redness, watery eyes, blurry vision, inflammation, and sore eyes.
One of the main causes of this pain in the eye is ingrown eyelashes.
So, what exactly are ingrown eyelashes and how can we treat them? Let’s find out!
What Is An Ingrown Eyelash?
An ingrown eyelash is everything you think it is. The eyelash is growing inwards toward the eye instead of outwards, which means that it is going directly into the eye, causing a lot of irritation, pain, and soreness in the eyeball, or sometimes even an eye infection.
Without proper treatment, or when left untreated, this can cause severe eye irritation, and eyelash removal may be necessary.
Eyelashes sometimes naturally start growing inwards or down instead or curving up and outwards as they should. This can often cause a lot of discomfort in the eye and eyelid.
Ingrown eyelashes are actually rather common and can affect your upper and lower eyelids.
It is more common for adults to suffer from ingrown lashes, but it is not uncommon for this problem to affect children too, as it is often just the way the eyelashes are growing naturally.
What Causes Ingrown Eyelashes?
An ingrown eyelash is caused by a lash that is growing in the wrong direction, toward the eye, which often results in it poking the eye or growing into the direction of the eyeball.
The medical term for this problem is trichiasis. This is common in both the lower eyelid and the upper eyelid and can look like a red bump, or simply just abnormal eyelash growth.
When you have an ingrown eyelash, you can feel the lash touching the eye, which causes a lot of irritation to the eye itself and the skin in those areas.
It can lead to pain, watering eyes, redness, bloodshot eyes, and sometimes even some damage to the cornea.
In addition to this, it can often be very frustrating as it feels like you have a rogue eyelash in the eye, but when you try to fish it out, there’s nothing in there as it is attached to your eyelid, and will be poking you in the eye whenever you blink or close your eyes. Often times those with
longer lashes due to trichomegaly have issues with their lashes getting in their eyes as well.
Symptoms Of Ingrown Eyelashes
Ingrown eyelashes are categorized and identified by soreness, redness, pain, and discomfort around the eyes. You may also feel blurry-eyed as your eyes water due to the obstruction or feeling of something picking at your eye.
Ingrown eyelashes can also occur in the same way that ingrown hairs do; where they become trapped under the skin, and start to grow inwards or in the wrong direction.
That being said, there are medical conditions that can result in an ingrown eyelash.
For instance, the most common medical condition is trichiasis, which is when the eyelash turns inwards and grows towards the eyeball. If not treated, it can damage and scar the cornea, causing more pain and inflammation.
Alternatively, there is a condition called distichiasis, which is where the eyelash row grows closer than usual to the eyes, resulting in the lashes rubbing against the eyeball and causing irritation.
Finally, there is a condition called blepharitis, which is caused by inflammation in the eyelids, which can cause your eyelids to swell which could be the reason for any pain in that area.
How To Treat Ingrown Eyelashes
Ingrown eyelashes can be treated and removed. This can be done via home remedies, or by eye doctors and eye specialists.
For some people, they may choose to simply treat the ingrown eyelash symptoms such as irritation and the pain by applying a cold compress or some coconut oil to soothe the area.
Whereas others may opt to remove the source of irritation by getting rid of the eyelash entirely by using eyelash or eyebrow tweezers
To treat an ingrown eyelash, you can apply ointments and eye drops that are purchased over the counter or given via prescription to soothe any discomfort and inflammation.
You can also try using a warm compress with a clean, soft cloth soaked in warm water and pressed on the area gently for 5-10 minutes.
Alternatively, you may choose to use a little coconut oil or aloe vera on a soft cloth to soothe and calm the red, sore area of the eye.
You can utilize warm compresses, although some people also say cold cucumbers on the eyelash really do the trick!
These treatments only alleviate the pain or discomfort, and you may have to remove the lash to get rid of the issue entirely.
How To Remove Ingrown Eyelashes
When it comes to removing an ingrown lash, there are many treatment options. The best way to treat an ingrown eyelash is to remove it.
You can do this yourself, ask a friend, or a healthcare professional to do it for you as they will be able to see clearly what they are doing.
You can remove the eyelash from poking the affected eye with a pair of tweezers, however it may grow back stronger in future and cause more pain.
Instead, you can opt for permanent hair removal through electrolysis. This is done with high frequency electrical current to remove the follicle.
A doctor can do this for you, as the follicle will be removed entirely so that it never grows back and causes any more pain and discomfort.
If you are unsure what to do, and your ingrown lashes are causing you a lot of pain, then it is best to see a doctor or ophthalmologist who will be fully trained in proper eye care to treat the problem for you.
This will also ensure that it never happens again or grows back.
Ingrown Eyelashes Conclusion
To conclude, an ingrown lash or trichiasis is when the hair follicle from the eyelid is growing and pointing towards the eye, which can cause eye redness, severe irritation, and other eye conditions.
Without treatment, this can cause further damage to the eye and cornea, or lead to a bacterial infection.
These types of lashes can be common in adults and children, so if you suspect trichiasis, then it is important that you treat the irritated area and speak to an eye specialist for removal and treatment.