Surgery for Ingrowing Eyelashes
Why do your eyelashes sometimes irritate your eyes?
Entropion is a cause of eyelashes touching the front surface of the eye and causing irritation. Trichiasis also causes eyelashes to touch the eye and can be quite painful.
Let’s define these words. Entropion means an eyelid is turning in, and trichiasis is a common eyelid abnormality in which the eyelashes are misdirected and grow toward the eye surface. Both cause soreness, irritation and redness of the eye.
Trichiasis can occur with inflammation of the eyelid. This condition is usually a result of chronic inflammation such as longstanding blepharitis, or some types of conjunctivitis such as trachoma, or even diseases such as pemphigoid and some may arise following eyelid reconstructive surgery.
In entropion, there is the poor positioning of the eyelid margin, and the eyelashes grow in the correct direction, but the eyelid itself turns inwards. Although we sometimes call this eyelash turning inwards, trichiasis. Strictly speaking, trichiasis is the misdirected growth, and entropion is the malposition of the eyelid.
What we can do for both trichiasis and for entropion.
Trichiasis often affects the upper eyelids but can also affect the central lower lids, mainly if it is a chronic lid margin eye disease we call blepharitis. The aim is to remove the hair follicles of the abnormal eyelashes. Although we can do electrolysis for the occasional odd lash and we can repeat eyelash ablation regularly, if it, however, affects more than just one or few lashes, then the ophthalmologist must remove the eyelash roots permanently and correct the eyelid position. This process may involve surgery such as anterior lamellar re-positioning of the upper eyelids and the lower lids. If the problem is inturning eyelid, this requires correction of involutional entropion.
We do these types of eyelid surgery under local anaesthetic as a day case, but before we can do them, you will need a full assessment. The oculoplastic surgeon, Jane Olver assesses patients with eyelash problems; either trichiasis from abnormal growth or entropion from the lid turning in and the lashes brush against the eye causing discomfort, grittiness, redness or even corneal ulcer. She will have to look very carefully at the conjunctiva to see if there is scarring present which has pulled the lid in, or whether it is purely an involutional problem from age and laxity.
She will then advise on a bespoke treatment for you, and we will do all surgery under local anaesthetic one eyelid at a time here at Clinica London as a day case.
If you have ingrowing eyelashes or your eyelid is turning intermittently or permanently, you should seek the advice of Jane Olver for oculoplastic correction of the eyelashes.