While eyelash pain is a symptom of several conditions such as eyelid infections, blocked oil glands or eyelash growth problems, most cases of eyelash pain can be attributed to a condition called blepharitis. Blepharitis, a chronic condition affecting the eyelids, occurs secondarily to several diseases and conditions and can lead to further diseases, disorders and complications, according to MayoClinic.com. However, the condition itself, while uncomfortable and unattractive, does not cause permanent damage.
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In addition to eyelash pain, blepharitis causes red, itchy, watery and swollen eyes. People with the condition may also feel burning, grittiness, sensitivity or discomfort in the eye itself. The skin around the eyes may flake, and the eyelashes may appear greasy or oily. In some cases, the eyes may crust over during sleep; eyelashes may grow abnormally or fall out, according to MayoClinic.com.
Several conditions cause blepharitis, including seborrheic dermatitis, bacterial infection, rosacea, allergies, mites and oil-gland malfunctions. Seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition of the skin, causes dandruff and skin irritation. Rosacea is a chronic condition identified by redness on the face and especially on the cheeks.
Most cases of blepharitis are treated by cleansing the area frequently with a warm, soft washcloth, according to MayoClinic.com. If a bacterial infection is present, prescription antibiotic eye drops are used. Steroids and ointments help relieve inflammation. If dryness is a problem, eye drops or artificial tears may help. Treating or controlling the underlying cause may also help.
Without treatment, blepharitis can lead to several other conditions including misdirected or shedding eyelashes. In some cases, the eyelashes grow inward, irritating the cornea. Other conditions caused by blepharitis include pink eye, excessive tearing or dryness, swelling on the inside of the eyelid and infection at the edge of the eyelid, also called a sty.
A sty, similar to a pimple, appears on the eyelid at one or more of the oil glands located along the edge of the eyelid. Caused by bacteria in the oil glands, sties can develop alone or because of blepharitis. They usually clear up within a few days and are of no cause for concern. In some cases, however, the condition does not clear up. When this occurs, medical attention is necessary.