Monday, February 27, 2012

Sleeping With the Enemy: Eyelash Mites

Eyelash mites have become the bane of other people's existence, making them scared of sleeping. Eyelash mites are tiny and parasitic mites that infuse themselves in the sebaceous glands and hair follicles of human beings, most particularly in the eyelash hair follicles. They are usually about 0.4 mm, and are found on the nose, cheek, forehead, and chin; practically anywhere you may find a sebaceous gland or a hair follicle. Although their infestation is not particularly severe, and is in fact a bit common, certain cases of eyelash mite infestation may cause certain skin conditions.
Eyelash mites have elongated and semi-transparent bodies that consists of two fused segments, with the first having 8 short legs, all of which are segmented. They are covered with scales that they use in order to latch on human hair follicles, and they feed on dead and flaky, skin cells, hormones, and even the sebum that are accumulated on the hair follicles.
While it is true that almost every other person has a few eyelash mites, there are a certain number of people that are prone to having quite a bit of these creatures. Among the list are those who wear mascara and eyeliners often because they have a higher tendency of being viable hosts for the mites, older people who are prone because they produce sebum more than younger people, and of course, people who have a compromised immune system, either due to stress or illness. Although they are generally harmless, a sudden increase in their number may cause demodicosis: a skin disorder characterized by extensive itching and inflammation. Other consequences may include rosacea, and swollen eyelids. Persisting infestation of eyelash mites may even lead to corneal irritation and scarring.
Diagnosis of eyelash mite infestation is done by individual observance of eyelashes under a microscope. They are generally seen as cylindrical dandruffs around the base of the eyelash, and because they are not able to come out in bright light, the diagnosis is done with very minimal lighting employed. To determine the severity of the infestation, samples of skin and lashes are taken in for testing, after which post diagnostic tests are employed in order to treat the infestation. In cases of mild infestation, simple ointments are used in order to clear the eyelash mites. However, in cases of chronic infestation, the use of antibiotics is employed.
Home treatment options are also available to control the infestation, and are done by washing the eyebrows, lashes, and eyelids with no-tear shampoo and lukewarm water. A regimen of weekly eyelid scrub with tea tree oil, as well as a daily eyelid scrub with tea tree shampoo may also be done for effectively removing the eyelash mites. In addition, proper eyelid hygiene is extremely recommended, and this includes the use of disposable tissues for eyelid cleaning, proper care of the towels and pillow covers that might come in contact with the eyelids, cleaning of shaving sets every day, and other necessary means of caring for anything that will most likely come in contact with the eyes, or any hair follicle in the body.

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