What is trichiasis?
Trichiasis describes eyelashes that are misdirected towards the eye.
What are the causes of trichiasis?
Any chronic inflammatory condition of the eyelid e.g. blepharitis, may result in trichiasis.
What are the symptoms of trichiasis?
The symptoms depend on the degree of trichiasis, but typically include irritable, sore, red and watery eyes with a constant foreign body sensation.
Can trichiasis affect the eye, or vision?
Chronic irritation of the eye by ingrowing eyelashes can lead to localised erosions and ulceration of the cornea (the front ‘window’ of the eye), and this carries a risk to vision.
How is trichiasis treated?
Τhe aberrant lashes may either be epilated (pulled out), giving temporary relief for several weeks, or treated more permanently by electrical treatment to the roots of the lashes (electrolysis). This is performed under local anaesthesia and takes a few minutes. Following electrolysis antibiotic drops or an ointment are prescribed. A review is organised a few weeks later to determine whether there are any persistent ingrowing eyelashes, which not infrequently occurs. For more extensive areas of trichiasis, freezing treatment (cryotherapy) can also be used.