Although nearly 70 million Americans with Dry Eye have what’s known as eyelash or Demodex mites, it’s only relatively recently that eye doctors have begun to diagnose and treat it. Partly, that’s because not everyone with the condition has symptoms. Also, until recently, eye doctors were not able to remove these nasty mites, so they were just focused on alleviating the symptoms and trying to make their patients more comfortable.
So what can you do if you suspect you have — or that cute guy or gal sitting across from you on a date has — mites?
Look for Signs of Eyelash Mites
Some eyelash mite infestations are difficult to diagnose, but others leave clear signs. Look for:
- Red, dry eyes
- Red, inflamed, sometimes itchy eyelid rims or margins
- Clear, white, or yellowish “dandruff” in your eyelashes, usually close to the lid
- Eyelashes that are crooked or seem to point off in odd directions instead of growing straight out from the lid
- Eyelashes that are brittle or come out easily when tugged on gently
- Little red pimples around the eyes
- A bright red rash on the face called rosacea
If you have one or more of these symptoms, you might have mites.
Use the Right Tool for Getting Rid of Mites
“Natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “harmless,” which is why it’s important not to use plain or even diluted tea tree oil near your eyes. The oil you buy at the health food store can damage your eyes if not properly applied, and it’s also less effective because of the other ingredients that naturally occur in it. The best way to get the right dosage and type of tea tree oil ingredient is to buy specially-formulated eyelid wipes, with 4-Terpinenol or T40, the most effective ingredient in tea tree oil.
In fact, the isolated T40 ingredient is scientifically proven to be the most effective at eradicating mites.
While several products claim to treat eyelash mites, only one product that contains 4-Terpineol has proven effectiveness in human clinical studies that is also safe for everyday use.
Know What to Expect
The wipes are pre-moistened and individually packaged. You simply dab them along the eyelash line, then wipe them over your eyelid, forehead, and cheeks to remove any mites or eggs in the pores and hair follicles around your eyes.
The T40 ingredient can sometimes create an intense, cooling sensation that lets you know it’s working. Physicians who have recommended this product to patients have noticed that typically the more intense the initial sensation the more infected, or actually infested, the eye or area generally is, but this typically subsides within days as the mites die off and the areas begins to heal.
Consistently Use Eyelid Wipes
It’s important to use the wipes as directed. You should use the wipes twice a day for about 4-6 weeks, although some infestations take up to 60 days to wipe out. After that, you just use the wipes once a day as part of your daily hygiene routine – just like brushing your teeth.
Practice Good Eye Hygiene Daily
Using the wipes alone isn’t enough to wipe out the bugs. You should also make sure you wash your bed linens — especially pillowcases — at least once a week, in hot water. Other things that help are removing eye makeup before bed and replacing makeup you were using when you first noticed the symptoms so you don’t re-infect your eyelids.
With a little persistence, you can wipe away your Dry Eye and rid yourself of those nasty mites.