Blepharitis Eye Inflammation: Causes and Treatment
As the mites absorb the nutrients from the root of the hair, they cause the hair (eyelash) to grow weaker, thinner and distorted. This leads to a whole host of other problems such as in growing hairs, wispy eyelashes, and worst of all, eyelashes falling out. This is often the most noticeable effect of a heavy demodex mite infestation, besides the swelling/inflammation problems. The lack of nutrients causes the eyelashes to be brittle and break off which often results in growing hairs. Failing that, it is the damage to the roots and lack of nutrients that causes the eyelashes to fall out.
Damaging the cell walls of the eyelash hair is far worse than the hairs falling out through lack of nutrients. The hair of most people is made up of small scales held together by a sinew running through the middle. Softer hairs such as the ones you may find on your hands or shoulders have fairly long and far spaced scales. As a result, the hairs are softer and often fall apart after they grow 0.5mm. The hairs of the eyelash are thicker and harder because they comprise of many small scales packed together tightly. Very often, it is not the hair that falls apart after it has grown a certain length, but is the root that releases the hair. This is why people often find whole eyelashes when they fall out. If the mite attacks the cell walls of these hairs then the hair scales spread out like little hoots. A little like a rose bush stem. Then as the hair grows, it has the same affect as pulling barbed wire through a closed fist. This causes big problems because the eyelid will swell up, go red and feel very tender. This then creates an even better playground for the mites and they breed even more. Sadly, because of the swelling it is harder to clean out the mites. Even worse, the open wounds that subsequently appear are often liable for infection.
The excretion of tiny parasites in your eyelid and eyelash follicles may not seem like a big deal, and it is not for most people. But for people who are allergic to their waste, it causes very big problems that are hard to fix. With an allergy to pollen or dust, a person is able to stay away from them, but mites are notoriously difficult to remove from the eyelid, so the sufferer is forced into repeated allergic reactions.
The mites laying eggs causes a problem because they can lay around 25 per hair follicle, which causes a lot of irritation and itching. If you scratch the itch then is swells, making the mites harder to remove. The eggs are almost impossible to remove and you must wait for them to hatch before they can be killed. This means you need to keep treating your eyes, even when you think the infection/infestation is gone.
Finally, the mites dying in your eyelash follicles leaves plenty of decaying food to attract and sustain an infection, which may lead to even bigger consequences.