Why Do My Eyelashes Hurt?

At one time or another, I’m sure we have all felt some sort of discomfort or pain in our lash region but have you ever wondered what the cause of that pain was?

Truth is, this discomfort can be due to numerous reasons so it is important that you pay attention to the symptoms you are experiencing in order to figure out what exactly is causing this pain. Don’t be alarmed though, just because you are experiencing lash discomfort doesn’t mean that you necessarily have an infection. Lash discomfort can also be due to blocked oil glands because of dirt build-up or makeup that was completely removed, or even sleeping with your face down so that your eye on one side is crushed into the pillow making the lashes bend into an uncomfortable position.

Although if you are having any abnormal symptoms, you should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, because it could be a sign of a serious illness or infection.

Remember that self-diagnosis is not the best option and it’s better to be safe than sorry if other symptoms do occur. Most lash discomfort conditions do not cause permanent damage, but leaving them untreated can lead to more serious infections so it is a good idea to get them checked out before any permanent damage can be done or any other serious infections begin to develop. 

Causes of Lash Pain

While some of the causes of your eyelash discomfort are more obvious, such as rubbing your eyes with dirty hands or sharing makeup with someone who has an eye infection, other causes can be more obscure and could be possibly due to underlying health conditions.

Health conditions that could lead to possible eye problems are but not limited to:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Hormonal or gland abnormalities. 

How do I know if I have an infection?

Eyelash pain can stem from many reasons, but if it isn’t due to an underlying health condition, sleep positioning or a blockage of oil glands it can be hard to determine what exactly the problem is.

The first possible cause is a condition called blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the base of the eyelids that can cause your lashes to fall out. Blepharitis is a chronic condition affecting the eyelids, and typically occurs secondarily to several diseases and conditions that can lead to further diseases, disorders, and complications. However, the condition itself does not cause permanent damage, but it can be uncomfortable and seen as unattractive. 

The second is a chalazion. A chalazion is an inflammation of a blocked meibomian gland at the base of the eyelid. Chalazions are usually painless and appear as a bump on the underside of the eyelid, behind the eyelashes, or midway up the eyelid. This type of bump is usually likely to form on the upper eyelid and it can potentially grow big enough to blur your vision. 

A third potential cause is a stye. A stye is an infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes. This infection in your eyelash follicles causes a swollen and red condition on your eyelids and glands surrounding your eyes. A stye usually forms along the outer rim of the eyelid, though sometimes it can form on the inner rim. 

eyelid with stye

A fourth possible cause is dacryocystitis. Dacryocystitis is an infection of the nasolacrimal sac (tear duct), caused by nasolacrimal. When present, medial canthal swelling of dacryocystitis is usually located below the medial canthal tendon and it is usually caused by a blockage of the tear ducts, which leads from the tear sac to the nose. 

It’s important to know that these are not the only probable causes of infection and it is still important that you see a qualified physician for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan. 

What are the symptoms?

In addition to eyelash pain, symptoms may also include red, itchy, watery, and swollen eyes.

People may also experience burning, grittiness, sensitivity, or discomfort in the eye itself and the skin around the eyes may flake. In some cases, the eyelashes may also appear greasy or oily and the eyes may crust over during sleep.

The lashes may grow abnormally or fall out, but also know that lashes tend to fall out in there normal lash cycle so lashes fall out is not always due to infection or an underlying condition. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms make sure to keep track of your symptoms, when they occur, how severe your pain is, and how long it lasts to help your eye doctor and specialist come to an accurate diagnosis. 

Treatment options

speak to your doctor

Don’t hesitate to get help. It is better to be safe than sorry in most cases especially in your eye region because something that doesn’t look like much could potentially lead to something serious. Some potential treatments may include a warm compress, quick procedures performed in the office such as puncturing pumps or draining a stye, antibiotic eye drops, surgery, and anti-inflammatory steroid injections.

Not all infections or discomforts are subject to cause permanent damage, and it can be easy to jump to conclusions if you are experiencing discomfort. Like we said above, make sure to track your symptoms and try not to look for more than you have if you aren’t experiencing any.

Lash discomfort does not always have to stem from an infection and it may just be from something small such as blocked oil glands from dirt and/or leftover makeup or sleeping weird the night before, so it’s also important not to jump to conclusions. 

Best practices for prevention

While some conditions are unavoidable, the most popular and best ways to prevent many forms of eyelash pain are common sense approaches to sanitary practices.

  1. Avoid infections by only touching your face with clean hands, and make sure not to rub your eyes if they become itchy – rely on drops or cool cloths to soothe itchy eyes.
  2. Wash your hands and face thoroughly with soap and lotion designed for sensitive skin
  3. Make sure to remove your makeup completely every night before bed using a hydrating makeup remover designed specifically for removing eye makeup; rub softly to take off stubborn mascara and eyeliner.

Be sure to visit your ophthalmologist at the first indication of problems and after 24 hours with irritating symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked out to begin treatment as soon as possible. Although going to the doctor can be challenging, it’s better to get a professional option than trying to self diagnose.

Without the proper treatment, the condition could potentially lead to something serious, and even cause blindness, so we can not stress enough how important it is to see a qualified physician or specialist if abnormal symptoms begin to occur.

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