An ingrown eyelash, or trichiasis, occurs when the eyelash is misaligned and grows back toward the skin instead of away from the eye. The affected eye may become red, irritated and watery, and there is typically a sensation of having sand or grit in the eye. Sensitivity to light and pain may also develop. Chronic cases may lead to infection or cause permanent corneal scarring and vision loss, according to the Merck.com.
Apply a warm compress to the affected eye to reduce inflammation and ease pain. Dampen a towel with warm water and hold it against your eye for 10 to 15 minutes every hour. Avoid using hot water or pressing too firmly against your eye to prevent eye damage.
Visit an ophthalmologist to have the ingrown eyelash removed. A doctor may be able to pull the affected eyelash free from the skin using forceps. Do not attempt to remove your eyelash at home.
Speak with an ophthalmologist about surgical removal of your eyelash if you experience a recurrence following removal by forceps. An ophthalmologist may be able to surgically correct the growth pattern of your lash, or he may elect to cut out the affected lash or an entire section of lashes.
Undergo electrolysis of the affected eyelash. Electrolysis involves passing an electric current through the lash base to kill the cells responsible for hair production. Baptist Eye Surgeons states that the lash will grow back in approximately one-third of patients who undergo electrolysis.
Destroy the follicle of your eyelash through cryotherapy. This procedure, which is typically performed by an ophthalmologist or oculplastic surgeon, uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the hair follicle to prevent regrowth. The Radiological Society of North America states that topical cryotherapy requires minimal recovery time and has few side effects.
According to Baptist Eye Surgeons, permanent removal of the lash follicle is the only way to ensure a recurrence of trichiasis does not occur.