An important condition closely related to eyelashes conditions is blepharatis.
Blepharitis is a common and ongoing condition where the eyelids become swollen, with oily particles and bacteria coating the eyelid margin near the base of the eyelashes. This annoying condition causes: scales on the eyelashes, irritation, itchiness, redness, and stinging or burning of the eyes. While the underlying causes of blepharitis aren’t completely understood, it can be associated with a bacterial eye infection, symptoms of dry eyes or certain types of skin conditions such as acne rosacea. Blepharitis can be classified as anterior or posterior (in relation to the eyelid).
- Anterior blepharitis affects the outside of the eyelid where your eyelashes are attached. This can be caused by bacterial (or sometimes viral) infection. If left untreated, anterior blepharitis can lead to thickened and inward-turned or outward-turned eyelids and even vision problems from in-turned eyelashes damaging the cornea.
- Posterior blepharitis is a condition that results from a dysfunction of the eye’s tiny oil glands (meibomian glands) in the eyelids at the base of the eyelashes. When meibomian glands become clogged from posterior blepharitis, it can also can cause a stye or chalazion to form. Posterior blepharitis also leads to thickened eyelid margins and crusty eyelids. With this type of blepharitis, tears can even look foamy.
Many people have both anterior and posterior blepharitis at the same time in varying degrees.
Blepharitis could be the precursor to important disorders of the eyelashes. Disorders of the eyelashes may cause eye redness, tearing, constant irritation, foreign body sensation, and sensitivity to light and wind to name a few symptoms. If the condition is not treated properly and promptly, patients may present with recurrent eye infections and even eye ulcers that can compromise vision. Two conditions that produce these symptoms are:
Trichiasis: is a condition in which the eyelashes grow or rotate toward the eyeball. Producing continuous friction against the eye surface (conjunctiva and cornea)
Distichiasis: is a condition in which there is abnormal growth of extra row (s) of eyelashes on the lid margin toward the eyeball. These extra lashes produce continuous friction against the eye surface (conjunctiva and cornea).