Hello and welcome to Case of the Day. I’m Dr. Croley and today we’re gonna discuss something that some people might think it’s a little gross, or some other people might think it’s a little funny and interesting.
So we’re gonna discuss what’s called Demodex, which is a tiny little organism that actually stays around your eyelashes and burrows down into the follicle of the lash, and then at night time, crawls out and could crawl across your face and around your eyelids. There’s even some evidence that Demodex may be a cause or part of the cause of roseation; that these things crawl across your face and then die, their body fluids cause a reaction on your skin which could lead to roseation. So there are some studies that have shown that, as well.
We see a lot of people who have Demodex, and it’s more commonly around the eyelashes and basically what happens is, people who have blepharitis, it is, normally your eyelashes are nice and clean, but in people who have blepharitis, they got crusting and mattering all around your lashes and the glands here are infected in the lid and is a chronic disease in a lot of people. An old term used to be granulated eyelids. Blepharitis is very common and people sometimes have it for years and just never really do much about getting rid of it.
Demodex occurs in a lot of people who have this blepharitis or if you have red itchy eyes, you could have Demodex in your eyelashes. The Demodex is a tiny little organism, that’s about one-third of a millimeter, like almost microscopic in size, and sort of semi clear-looking, has eight legs. I’m actually gonna show you a model of this. So this is a big model, so you have this thing, a lot smaller, but crawling around, inside, around your lashes across your face at night. This Demodex burrows head down into the eyelash follicle and then supposedly, it’s still not know for sure, but feeds on either cells or tissue down at the hair follicle and then comes out at night.
Their life cycle is pretty short. They reproduce on your skin, and then they die and then the body material, waste material then causes inflammation, and of course, their being there and ending their life causes inflammation, as well. So this is like a member of the spider family or arachnid family.
They’re sometimes very difficult to treat. We have a new product that just came out on the market, to try to clean lashes off. So we have this little, looks like a little driller pin and on the end of it, it has a little sponge. Some tiny little sponge that spins around like a drill that we can clean all the stuff off your lashes and lids and then get all that smut all cleaned off so that you can get down to the Demodex and we use an antiseptic soap that kills, can even kill them somewhat.
Some treatments also are tea tree oil application to the lids to kill the Demodex. Another way you can try to control it is too really goop up your eyelids with ointment at night, sort of trap of this when they come out at night into the ointment, but the main thing is just keeping your lids really clean. So we have some cleaning pads called OCuSOFT, that are an antiseptic pad that cleans off the lashes, as well.
So anyways, you don’t realize it but a lot of people have this, but you have this stuff crawling around on your lashes and lids at night. For some people that’s pretty gross but it’s extremely common in some areas. So anyway, if you have red itchy eyes, you may want to have your eye doctor to check to make sure that you don’t have Demodex in your eyelashes. If they’re not visible on the surface, you can always plug out an eyelash and see if they’re down on the hair follicle; that’s another way to diagnose.
So, if you have red itchy eyes, you might wanna get it checked; you might have that Demodex crawling around there. Otherwise, may God grant you with healthy eyes and great vision. Have a great day.