What is Trichiasis?
Trichiasis is a condition in which the eye lashes are turned or misdirected toward the eyeball. The position of the lid is normal but the eyelashes point in the wrong direction.
What Causes Trichiasis?
The structures that point the lashes away from the eye with time lose their function and strength. The eye lashes gradually turn toward the eye.
Chronic inflammation can cause scarring in the eyelids resulting in the eye lashes turning towards the eye. Scarring of the eyelid can occur from lid infections, skin diseases, trauma, and shingles (Herpes Zoster).
Symptoms of Trichiasis
The lower eyelid is by far the most common location of trichiasis. As the eyelashes rub against the eye, the person complains of:
Foreign body sensation in the eye
Watering or epiphora
Frequent eye infections
Chronic rubbing of the eyelashes can lead to permanent scarring of the cornea
Treatment of Trichiasis
Mechanical removal of the Turned in Eyelashes
This provides only temporary relief as the eyelashes will grow back turning into the eye.
Permanent Destruction of the Eyelash Follicle
This is the only way to prevent the eyelashes from growing back.
After local anesthesia is injected into the eyelid, a small wire is passed down the shaft of the eyelash follicle. An electro current cauterizes the eyelash follicle. This kills the eyelash follicle and keeps the eyelash from growing back. It may take more than one treatment to kill the follicle. Other new lashes may turn in and need treatment in the future. Minimal pain or swelling of the eyelid occurs following the procedure.
After local anesthesia is injected into the eyelid, a freezing probe is placed on the eyelid in the area of the trichiasis. This area is frozen killing the eyelash follicle. This procedure usually causes the eyelid to swell leading to some pain and redness. There could be some blistering and scab formation for a few days. There are less recurrences with this procedure.