Eyelash pain has many possible causes. However, the pain comes from the area beneath and around your eyelashes, not the lashes themselves.

Your eyelashes are unable to sense pain. That’s because they’re made of dead cells, which mainly consist of keratin. Nerve signals don’t travel through these cells.

Instead, the base of each eyelash is covered in nerve fibers. When these nerves sense pain, it can feel like your actual eyelashes are hurting.

Read on to learn what might be causing eyelash pain, along with how to treat it.

Many conditions can cause eyelash pain, so it’s important to take note of your other symptoms. Possible causes include:

Ingrown eyelashes

A common cause is ingrown eyelashes, or trichiasis. The eyelashes grow toward the eye and rub your eye and inner eyelid.

This can cause irritation and pain, along with:


Blepharitis, or eyelid inflammation, is another common reason for eyelash pain.

Symptoms include:

  • redness
  • itchiness
  • burning
  • watery eyes
  • foaming in the eye
  • dryness
  • sensitivity to light
  • crusty eyelids or eyelashes

Usually, blepharitis occurs when bacteria spread to the skin near your eyelashes. It can also happen if the oil glands in your eyelids become blocked.


A stye is a red bump along the edge of your eyelid. It usually contains pus, so it might look like a pimple or boil.

Styes are painful, so your eyelashes will likely hurt. Other symptoms include:

Eyelash mites

Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis are two types of mites that can live on human skin. People who have large amounts of these mites on their skin may be diagnosed with a condition called demodicosis.

Demodex mites can affect follicles on any part of the body, including your outer ears and chest. They can often be found on the face, including the eyelashes.

Eyelash mites can cause eye irritation, along with:


Entropion occurs when your eyelid folds inward. This makes your lashes rub against your eye, resulting in eye irritation.

You may have eye and eyelash pain, along with:

  • redness
  • sensitivity to light and wind
  • feeling like something is in your eye
  • watery eyes
  • crusty eyelids
  • mucus discharge

Eyelash lice

When pubic lice (Phthirus pubis) live and feed on the eyelashes, it’s called phthiriasis ciliaris. The lice are tiny, crab-like parasites that attach to hair.

This condition is rare, but it can happen if you touch hair with pubic lice, then touch your eyelashes.

Eyelash lice primarily cause itchiness, which might make your lashes hurt. Other possible symptoms include:

  • burning
  • swelling
  • redness
  • grittiness
  • brown or black spots along your eyelashes

Eyelash ptosis

With eyelash ptosis, your eyelashes on your upper eyelid bend downward. The lashes touch the surface of your eyes, resulting in irritation.

The condition can also affect your lower eyelid. In this case, the eyelashes bend upward and brush against your eye. This is called lower eyelid lash ptosis.

The irritation may be painful. Other symptoms include:

  • redness
  • feeling like something is in your eye
  • floppy eyelids
  • mucus discharge


Distichiasis, or double eyelashes, is a rare condition characterized by two rows of eyelashes. It’s commonly caused by a genetic mutation, but it can also be caused by trauma or inflammation.

The extra lashes irritate the eye, which might feel like eyelash pain. You may also have:

Eyelash extensions are false lashes that are glued to the base of your real lashes. The extensions can make your eyelashes look fuller and longer.

But the glue that’s used can make your eyelashes hurt. It contains ammonia and latex, which can cause contact dermatitis or blepharitis.

This can lead to eyelid or eye pain, along with:

See a doctor if your eyelash extensions hurt. Consider switching to magnetic eyeliner and lashes. It’s important to treat these symptoms to avoid more serious complications.

Mascara, like other eye makeup, contains a blend of chemicals. These chemicals are considered safe for the eyes, but it’s possible to be allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients.

If you have an allergic or sensitivity reaction, you may have eyelash pain. Stop using the product immediately.

Consider using a mascara that’s designed for sensitive eyes. It may be labeled as “hypoallergenic” mascara.

You have hair follicles all over your body, including your eyelid. The base of each follicle is wrapped in nerve endings, which interpret different sensations. By removing the eyelash, you are removing that nerve input.

When you pull out an eyelash, the nerve fibers in the follicle interpret the sensation as pain. Plus, the eyelid is very sensitive. It might hurt more to pull out eyelashes than other hairs.

The best treatment depends on the underlying cause. Possible treatments include:

Eyelash removal

If you have a few ingrown eyelashes, an eye doctor can remove them with tweezers. This can be done in their office.


Antibiotics are used to treat styes or blepharitis caused by a bacterial infection.

Prescription antibiotics may be prescribed as:

  • eye drops
  • ointment
  • pills


Permethrin is a medicine that’s used to treat eyelash mites and lice. A doctor can prescribe it as:

  • ointment
  • cream
  • shampoo

Tea tree oil

Diluted tea tree oil is sometimes used to kill eyelash mites. But tea tree oil can irritate your eyes, so check with a doctor first. They can recommend the best method or provide a specific product.

Eye drops

Steroid eye drops will minimize redness and swelling. A doctor can give you a prescription for this medicine.

Artificial tears, which are available over the counter, can be used to treat dry eyes.


If your eyelash pain is due to structural issues, you may need surgery. Possible procedures include:

  • Eyelid surgery. If your eyelid is in an abnormal position, a surgeon can move it back in place.
  • Ablation surgery. A surgeon uses lasers or radio frequencies to remove ingrown or extra lashes. They can also use the method to redirect ingrown hairs.
  • Electrolysis. Electrolysis uses electricity to remove extra lashes.
  • Cryosurgery. In cryosurgery, extra lashes are removed via freezing.
  • Stye removal. During this procedure, a doctor drains the pus from the stye.

To avoid conditions that cause eyelash pain, follow these lifestyle practices:

  • Remove crusts on your eyelids every day. Use mild soap and water.
  • Wash your hands before handling contact lenses. Avoid wearing them if your eyes are already irritated.
  • Use hypoallergenic eye makeup. If a product causes irritation, stop using it.
  • Never share your eye makeup with other people.
  • Throw away eye makeup after 3 months.
  • Wash off your makeup before going to sleep.
  • Use artificial tears to reduce dry eyes and irritation.
  • Limit or avoid using eyelash extensions.

If your eyelash pain persists, see a doctor. You should also get medical help if you have:

  • eye pain
  • vision changes
  • increasing redness
  • persistent swelling
  • difficulty opening your eyes

Often, eyelash pain is due to ingrown eyelashes or eyelid inflammation. Eye makeup, allergies, and injury can all cause irritation. In some cases, the pain may be related to eyelid or eyelash growth issues.

Visit a doctor if your eyelash pain doesn’t go away. This is especially important if you have eye pain or vision changes.