Meet the creepy bugs living in your eyelids

Brace yourself, for something that sounds like its come straight from the script of a scary movie!

What if I told you that you have creeping bugs lurking in your eyelashes that come out at night when you are sleeping?

No doubt you would think I’ve been watching some far-fetched scary movie, and I’m having you on, but what if I wasn’t?

Freaked out?

Before you start reaching for the bug spray, how about I share a little bit more information with you on this common condition and how you can go about treating it?

Say Hi to the little bugs living in your eye

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of Demodex (Demodex folliculorum), tiny parasitic mites that live in the hair follicles of mammals. Their length ranges from .09-.5mm. Magnification: x1500 at 12x12 cm.
Electron micrograph of Demodex (Demodex folliculorum), tiny parasitic mites that live in the hair follicles.
Demodex 3

Let me formally introduce you to Demodex! Demodex is an eight legged mite that inhabits your eyelashes during the night while you sleep and along with his mates keeps busy scraping away at the skin around the eyelash follicle.

You probably wouldn’t even know he was there, if it wasn’t for the sticky, crusty dandruff like material that is left on your lashes once Dex and his mates are done!

But it’s the yucky material Demodex leaves that can cause terrible issues for your eyes, leaving them red, itchy and irritated in general. Dry eyes and styes are another common issue due to the oil glands being blocked in your eyelids by this dandruff or Demodex’s poo as we like to joke.

The outcome is that you are left with sore and uncomfortable eyes, that unfortunately will not improve unless treated, as Demodex and his mates will be back to visit night after night – a vicious cycle only getting worse overtime.

I hear you say, “Gross – that would never happen to me”, but I think you’d be surprised at the prevalence of Demodex. It is found in: 

  • 25% of 20-year-olds
  • 30% of 50-year-olds
  • 80% of 60 year-olds 
  • 100% in patients older than 70 years!

Curious to see Demodexand his mates at work? – Check out this creepy video showing Demodex crawling around a patient’s lashes, only able to be seen captured under a microscope.

The thought of having this crawling on my eyelashes just gives me shivers!!

Bidding farewell to Dex

No doubt after learning a bit more and watching that last video you are dying to know just how to get rid of Demodex and how to stop it from ever returning.

Unfortunately, these little buggers (excuse my pun) are not easy to get rid of as it’s not as simple as washing your eyes – this does absolutely nothing in irradiating them or their sticky mess.

At Eyecare Plus, we recommend a new in-store procedure called BlephEx to treat Demodex. Performed by our trained optometrists, the treatment only takes a few minutes and works by painlessly and thoroughly removing the sticky lash crust and debris from your eyelids. Depending on how bad your Demodex infestation is, you may require a few sessions. We also recommend you continue to maintain the condition at home yourself by applying a special foam on your eyelashes before going to bed.

It’s safe to say you can call off the exterminator!

Demodex (mite) infestation of the lashes
Demodex (mite) infestation of the lashes

I hope I didn’t freak you out too much with this creepy topic. But they do say knowledge is power, so hopefully if you ever encounter Demodex and his mates you will know what you’re dealing with.

If you are ready to bid Dex farewell once and for all, we encourage you to call today to make an appointment with one of our optometrists who are trained in the BlephEx treatment procedure.

And don’t forget to share this one with your friends, it’s guaranteed to make them freak out! I know it made my skin crawl when I first learnt about this interesting condition.


For more information on eye health and eye conditions or to find your local Eyecare Plus optometrist

About optometrists:

Optometrists are experts in vision care who diagnose, manage and treat a wide range of vision problems, eye diseases and ocular conditions. By prescribing spectacles, contact lenses, vision aides and other treatments, optometrists help their patients maximise and retain good vision for life

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