When the eyelash grows inward instead of outward, it’s known as an ingrown eyelash or trichiasis. As it grows, it can get into the corner of your eye, irritating your eye and eyelid.
Ingrown eyelashes are more common in adults and can occur on either the top or bottom eyelid.
An ingrown eyelash can be the result of:
- an issue with the eyelid
Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies can treat symptoms, such as pain and irritation. Ultimately, you must remove the eyelash to avoid future problems.
You may notice signs of an ingrown eyelash when the area around the eye becomes red and sore. You may also experience watery eyes or blurry vision due to irritation.
Certain eye conditions might also contribute to ingrown eyelashes:
- Blepharitis. This condition occurs when the edge of the eyelids become inflamed.
- Distichiasis. This happens when an extra row of eyelashes grows closer to the eye than normal, which rubs against the eye, causing irritation.
- Entropion. In this condition, the eyelid turns inward, making your eyelashes rub against the eyeball. If entropion persists, it can cause scarring and damage to your cornea. This is typically a secondary effect from inflammation.
Children can get ingrown eyelashes, although they’re more common in adults. The treatment is similar for both groups.
You can treat symptoms such as pain, redness, and irritation with eye drops and ointments. These products are available by prescription or over the counter.
At-home remedies include warm compresses or soothing ointments. To make a warm compress, first take a clean cloth and soak it with warm water. Then apply it to the irritated area for up to 10 minutes.
These at-home treatments won’t get rid of your ingrown eyelash, but they can help with the discomfort and irritation.
If your condition is severe or recurring, you may need surgery to treat it.
It’s safe to remove an ingrown eyelash. In fact, eyelash removal is necessary to relieve the pressure and eliminate the problem.
You can pluck the eyelash yourself or have another person do it for you. Another person may be able to see the lash better. The eyelash will likely grow back and could be even more irritating when it does.
To avoid future problems, you’ll likely have to seek help and a more lasting fix from an ophthalmologist.
When removing the eyelash, your doctor will grab the lash with forceps or pincers and pluck it out. You may need eye drops to help with the discomfort as your eye heals.
Your doctor can also assist you in eyelid surgery or ablation surgery. In ablation surgery, a doctor directs radio waves or laser waves into the root of the eyelash. This will get rid of the eyelash and should help a recurring condition.
Other treatments include cryosurgery, where follicles or lashes are frozen and removed, and electrolysis, which uses electricity to remove hair.
Some treatments might be more painful or have a longer recovery period than others.
Ingrown eyelashes can cause pain and irritation, and they’re a common problem. You can treat the symptoms with a variety of home remedies and OTC eye products.
But if you wish to relieve yourself from complications or find a more permanent solution, you’ll have to seek medical attention. An ophthalmologist or optometrist can help you choose the best plan of action for your condition.
You should seek medical attention when the irritation doesn’t go away, your vision becomes blurry, or if you’re prone to ingrown eyelashes.
It’s important to catch any problems early to avoid long-term damage to your vision or your eye.