December 8, 2021
Identifying and Curing a Demodex Infestation
Thinking about Christmas just around the corner and one of my favorite Christmas movies; The Grinch© I started thinking about the little “grinch mites” called Demodex; that can reside in the base of many of the population’s eyelashes. As I tell our patients; this isn’t a hygiene issue per say, because we all have little microorganisms all over our bodies, and those little guys have their purpose. What we don’t want is for the Demodex mites to become overpopulated because they can cause many issues for your overall ocular health.
Like the Grinch, Demodex steal and disrupt harmony. When we have the overpopulation of Demodex this can even be visible on our eyelids. You see; Demodex go hand in hand with Anterior Blepharitis.
Eyelash mites are too small to see with the naked eye. The only way to know for sure if you have an infestation is to see your eye doctor. You may suspect moderate to severe overpopulation if you have any of the following common symptoms: Itchy eyelashes and eye area, redness around the eyes, burning eyes, scaly rough patches on the eyelids. Severe or advanced demodex overpopulation also leads to crusted eyelashes and sticky eyes. If left untreated, the problem can lead to eyelash growth abnormalities. They can also interfere with one’s ability to see clearly.
Anterior Blepharitis is commonly caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis) or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis). These bacteria are commonly found on the face and lids, but if they become excessive, or the lid area reacts poorly to their presence, an infection may occur.
Although it isn’t the most fun topic; Blepharitis makes for a yummy food source for Demodex mites. You know that saying; “if you feed them and they will come”? yes… suddenly there is a house (your eyelashes) full of hungry teenagers (Demodex mites) and they are fat, happy & reproducing. I know; you’re saying “Okay, okay! I get it, stop grossing me out and tell me what to do about it!”.
Don’t worry, the Dry Eye Center at East Main Vision Clinic has you covered! By having a simple in office procedure called BlephEx® we can effectively clean and debride your eyelids to prepare you for a very effective procedure. Post procedure we have a tailored regiment of lid cleansing products to significantly kill down the Demodex and reverse Blepharitis.
Eyelid health is key to ocular health, call (253)-780-0700 to schedule an appointment with Doctor Day if you have concerns of demodex or blepharitis today!