Many people have never heard of demodex mites. Many don’t realize that their dry, red, itchy eyes could come as a result of a condition, known as blepharitis, that is caused by these surprisingly common microscopic parasites that live on their bodies, and especially in their eyelashes. Even those people who have heard of blepharitis and demodex mites, often don’t know what to do about blepharitis and its accompanying dry eye symptoms. Below, we’ll discuss what demodex mites are and how they cause blepharitis, as well as what you can do to get rid of the debris left behind by demodex and treat your blepharitis.
Demodex mites, also known as face mites or eyelash mites are microscopic parasites that live on the face and hair follicles of humans. Although most people have these parasites on them, they are usually contained by the immune system. However, in situations of sickness and age, the immune system becomes weakened, and demodex mites become less controlled and can begin to do damage to skin and hair follicles. Although there are two types of demodex mites, Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis, the longer Demodex folliculorum is the type that gets into the hair follicles, including eyelashes, and causes blepharitis and dry eye.
Demodex mites possess mouths that are sharp and needle-like, allowing them to sting right into the skin and hair follicles to suck out nutrients. They thrive in a moist environment, and become most active in the dark. There are five stages in the life cycle. After mating on the surface of the skin, they go back into it and lay eggs, taking bacteria with them and excreting wastes and secretions, laying eggs and dying within its layers. This pulling in of bacteria, and the piling up of excrement and dead mites begins to affect the eyelids and cause blepharitis.
Obviously, the solution to this issue is to make sure that the debris left behind by these demodex mites is cleaned up before it begins to cause issues. This is where BlephEx comes in!
BlephEx is a painless in-office procedure, using a patented hand-piece, medical grade micro-sponge, used to brush away debris and other remnants of demodex and bacteria that cause blepharitis and dry eye. The procedure usually lasts between 6 and 8 minutes and patients usually say it is quite comfortable, with some reporting a slight tickling feeling. Many times, your eye doctor may instruct you on how to maintain your eyelid health after blephex treatment, including using warm compresses to clean away debris.
For more information about demodex, blepharitis and BlephEx, contact your eye doctor today!