Tails of the Eyelid Mite
Eyelid mites? What are they? Well, they are the common dust mite, medically known as Demodex. The mites seem to prefer colonising the upper eyelash follicles and although we all have Demodex lurking on our skin when they infiltrate the eyelashes, they can be problematic.
Demodex mites feed on skin and oil within the eyelid oil-producing glands. As the mites feed, they also excrete and die, lay eggs which all together causes inflammation, dryness, grittiness and also scaly skin around the lids.
I regularly see Demodex in practice, almost every day! When I talk to colleagues, they’re surprised I see so many. The issue is Demodex is a master of disguise. The mites can hide underneath crusting at the base of eyelash follicles and even furrow into the follicles and oil-producing meibomian glands.
Furthermore, Demodex is found 4 times more frequently in patients with Rosacea. So, if I see patients with Rosacea I’m suspicious and if I see crusting at the lid margins, I always perform a Blephex treatment to remove the crusting. Removing the crusts often exposes this devious culprit. I have a digital camera on my microscope, so I’ll often photograph a before and after to show the tail of the Demodex. Removing the crusts also helps remove some of the food source of the mite. However, I’ll also prescribe Demodex specific lid wipes such as Oust (there are a number of them out there) and also recommend IPL (Intense Pulsed Light therapy) to treat dry eye and ocular rosacea.
Mites Hidden Under EyeLash Crusting
Tails of Eye Lash Mites
2 Weeks of Lid Hygiene
Significant reduction in Demodex and overall lid crusting
Immediately After Blephex Treatment
Complete removal of scurf around lids and clear view of lashe follicles
So, what’s the moral of this tale (or should I say tail)?
If you have:
- crusting at the base of the lashes,
- scaly skin around lid margins,
- facial rosacea,
- redness around the eyelid margin,