Inverted Eyelashes (Epiblepharon) Treatment

Inverted eyelashes, often seen in babies and young children, tends to be an eye disorder that’s inherited. It’s an easy fix when you take your kids to the best pediatric ophthalmologists in Downtown Manhattan at Eye Physicians. You may also develop Inverted eyelashes, technically known as epiblepharon, as you age. Any eye discomfort should be quickly evaluated. If you happen to require inverted eyelash surgery to protect your vision, call the experts at NYC-based Eye Physicians today.

    What Is Epiblepharon?

    Inverted Eyelashes (Epiblepharon)Epiblepharon is a condition characterized by having an extra fold of skin and muscle that pushes against the edge of the eyelid causing the eyelashes to be inverted or turned inward or upward. This can lead to irritation, discomfort and possibly vision problems if untreated. It most commonly affects the lower eyelid but can be seen in the upper eyelid as well.

    The short strands of hair growing at the edge of each eyelid known as eyelashes serve to keep the eye moist and protect the cornea from debris, dust and other outside elements. The highly trained optometrists  and pediatric ophthalmologists  Optometrist at the Downtown Manhattan-based Eye Physicians have the knowledge, experience and technology needed to treat epiblepharon and many other eye conditions, such as:

    What Causes Inverted Eyelashes?

    Epiblepharon may be either congenital, which means present at birth, or acquired because of secondary causes.

    A combination of factors may contribute to the development of epiblepharon such as:

    • Ethnicity. Some ethnic groups are more commonly affected by this condition than others, particularly Asian, Hispanic and Native American children.
    • Genetics. It’s believed that children can inherit this condition from their parents.
    • Eyelid structure. Abnormalities in the anatomy of the eyelid such as excess skin or muscle can cause eyelashes to be pushed toward the eye.

    Acquired epiblepharon may develop in people who have extra folds of skin around the eyelids because of obesity or Downs syndrome and can also develop because of other eye conditions such as thyroid eye disease or orbital tumors. Epiblepharon affects lower lids more often than upper lids but can affect both and usually is seen in both eyes.

    What Are Symptoms of Epiblepharon?

    Not everyone with epiblepharon experiences symptoms. For those that do experience symptoms, there may be a gritty feeling  or a sensation that something is in the eye.

    Symptoms of epiblepharon include:

    • Eye itching
    • Redness
    • Tearing of the eyes not triggered by environmental factors
    • Sensitivity to light
    • Excessive blinking

    The constant friction of the eyelashes touching the cornea can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation, which then can lead to almost constant eye rubbing. The eyes may water frequently in an effort to flush away irritants, and the eyelid may appear swollen.

    How Are Inverted Eyelashes Treated?

    Children who have congenital epiblepharon may find that the condition resolves on its own as the face grows and develops, which usually happens by the age of seven.

    If the condition doesn’t resolve on its own, nonsurgical treatment options at your NYC eye doctor’s office include:

    • Lubricating eyedrops. These soothe eye irritation, redness or dryness caused by inverted eyelashes. Follow your pediatric ophthalmologist’s recommendation for the brand and directions before using over the counter eyedrops.
    • Hypoallergenic lotions. This can be used to smooth rough eyelashes to stop them from irritating the eye.
    • Topical medications. Prescribed corticosteroids or antibiotics may be used to reduce inflammation or heal an eye that’s infected.
    • Botulinum toxin type A (Botox). This type of injection reduces symptoms caused by inverted eyelashes, and can last up to six months.

    When your NYC ophthalmologist diagnoses epiblepharon, regular visits to the ophthalmologist are scheduled to monitor the progression of the condition. If the eyelashes persist in irritating the eyes or if they scratch the cornea, surgery may be recommended.

    Epiblepharon is a rare condition and requires the expertise of a highly specialized eye doctor. If you see your child blinking excessively or frequently rubbing their eyes, have them evaluated at Eye Physicians as soon as possible. The earlier it’s addressed, the more likely your child can grow up without experiencing any interruption in visual development.

    What Happens During Inverted Eyelash Surgery?

    The goal of surgery is to rotate the eyelashes outward, so they don’t continue to touch the cornea. One option is eyelid everting sutures that uses sutures to fold the lower eyelid downward without an incision.

    Things to expect from inverted eyelash surgery include:

    1. General anesthesia is usually used for children and local anesthesia for adults.
    2. A tiny incision is made.
    3. A small section of skin and muscle are cut out of the rim of the eyelid, which makes room for the eyelashes to rotate outward.
    4. A single suture is used to close the incision.

    There may be a small scar from the surgical incision, but the scar usually disappears as time passes. Any type of eyelash surgery should be performed by a skilled and knowledgeable board-certified eye surgeon.

    If epiblepharon is left untreated, eye inflammation  and irritation continue, which may lead to frequent infections or recurring bouts of pink eye. It may also lead to more serious complications such as corneal scarring or decreased vision from scarring.

    What Other Conditions Are Related to Abnormal Eyelash Growth?

    Your experienced New York City ophthalmologist diagnoses epiblepharon after a thorough eye exam,  which includes examination of the eyelids and eyelashes. With the expertise of this NYC team of eye doctors, you can expect them to distinguish this condition from similar conditions, such as trichiasis, which occurs when the eyelashes grow the wrong way.

    Other conditions characterized by problems with eyelashes include:

    • Entropion. In this condition, both the eyelids and eyelashes point toward the eye and irritate the surface of the eye.
    • Blepharitis. This refers to swelling or inflammation of the eyelids, which can cause eyelashes to face the wrong way.
    • Distichiasis. This means there’s an extra set of eyelashes.

    The abnormal growth of eyelashes can also be caused by an injury to the eye from chemicals or burns or from disorders that affect the mucous membranes or skin. Any abnormal symptoms affecting the eyes should be evaluated by an expert in ophthalmology for an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment for healing and relief.

    Why Choose Eye Physicians for Your Family’s Eye Care?

    Routine eye exams  are important for the health of your eyes. Whether you need an optometrist, ophthalmologist or emergency eye care,  the team at Eye Physicians includes experts who provide the best in eye care.

    Selecting the right eye care provider is crucial for your family’s eye health. Our clinic offers comprehensive eye care services for patients of all ages. Our experienced team of ophthalmologists and optometrists is dedicated to providing the highest quality care. We use advanced technology for accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. Our personalized approach ensures that you receive the care you need tailored to your specific needs.Your family’s eye health is our priority.

    At Eye Physicians, count on top quality eye care for the whole family in downtown Manhattan. Patients are usually in and out in less than an hour, and 24/7 on call support is provided after eye treatments like injections. Contact the team to schedule an appointment today. 

    Page Updated on Jun 25, 2024 by Dr. William Hogue, OD (Optometrist) of Eye Physicians
    William Hogue, OD

    My name is Dr. William Hogue, and I am an optometrist dedicated to providing top-quality professional eye care. I'm trained in treating various ocular conditions, including dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, and retinal issues.

    I earned my chemistry degree summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee. Subsequently, I obtained my Doctorate of Optometry (OD) and Master of Science (MS) from the New England College of Optometry. Following graduation, I completed an ocular disease residency at the State University of New York’s College of Optometry. Beyond my clinical work, I have also been a supporter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH).

    More about Dr. Hogue

    Eye Physicians
    110 Lafayette St, Suite 503
    New York, NY 10013
    (212) 292-4814

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    Entrust the care of your precious eyesight to highly skilled and experienced eye care professionals. For top-notch ophthalmologists and optometrists in Downtown Manhattan, choose Eye Physicians. Eye Physicians ensures prompt care, precise diagnosis, and personalized treatment plans.

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