What Is Trichiasis and Is It Fixable?

Eyelashes play an important role in protecting the eyes. They help prevent dirt and other foreign objects from getting into the eyes. They also sense touch and help activate the blinking function. Apart from offering protection, eyelashes can help enhance the physical appearance. 


Eyelashes are vital components of natural bodily form and function as well as beauty. There are, however, there are situations where eyelashes can become problematic. In some cases, they can become dangerous to the eyes. One of the harmful conditions in which this happens is trichiasis. 


What Is Trichiasis?


Trichiasis is a condition characterized by abnormal eyelash growth. It is a situation where the lashes grow in the wrong direction - toward the eye. They grow inward, which means that they touch the sensitive eye surface. 


The lashes intermittently or continuously rub against the eye surface, causing great discomfort. The lashes can cause problems ranging from mild discomfort to infection. The lashes are rough against the eye surface and can cause permanent damage from scarring or vision loss. 


Symptoms of Trichiasis 


There are several symptoms of trichiasis. They include red eyes, watery or itchy eyes, a sensation of foreign body in the eye, eye discharge, and sensitivity to light. Other symptoms are sharp pain and blurry vision. If you experience any of the symptoms, you need to visit an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. 


What Causes Trichiasis


It is not clear why the condition occurs, but inverted lashes can be caused by different factors. The condition can be hereditary, with some people born with misdirected lashes and others developing them later in life. 


The condition can also result from injury where scar tissue causes the lashes to grow abnormally. Surgery can also cause trichiasis due to the formation of scar tissue. Other causes include inflammation, bacterial infections, autoimmune diseases, viral infections, burns, trauma, and blepharitis.


Treatment for Trichiasis


The good news is that trichiasis is fixable. There are several treatments for the condition, ranging from epilation, or plucking of the lashes, to eyelid surgery. Epilation is usually the first treatment option. You can pluck out the misdirected lashes using special forceps. 


Treatment can also involve electrolysis, where electric current damages the lash follicle. This helps prevent re-growth. In severe cases, trichiasis may be treated using eyelid surgery. The eye specialist will determine the best treatment option depending on the severity of your condition.


Permanent Lash Removal


Most of the solutions for treating inward growing lashes are temporary. The eyelashes tend to grow back after a couple of weeks. Permanent lash removal requires surgery. Options for permanent lash removal include micro-cauterization, radiofrequency ablation, laser cauterization, cryoablation, and surgical excision. The number and the location of the misdirected lashes will determine the best treatment.


If not treated, trichiasis can cause serious eye problems. A corneal abrasion can result in eye damage. If you have inward growing eyelashes, you need to visit an eye specialist for treatment. The eye doctor will examine your eyes before recommending the treatment that will work best for you.


For more on trichiasis, contact the Houston Dry Eye clinic at our office in Houston, Texas. You can call (713) 664-4760 today to schedule an appointment.