Ingrown Eyelash

What is an Ingrown Eyelash?

Have you noticed an eyelash growing into eyelid? If yes, then you are suffering from ingrown eyelash or medically known as trichiasis.

It happens when the eyelash is misaligned and grows toward the skin. It usually goes out on its own, but there are instances when the condition gets severe. Chronic infection could lead to permanent corneal scarring and even blindness.

Eyelash growing under the skin on eyelid affects any age. The eyelash and eyelid play an important role of protecting the eyes from foreign particles. If there is an ingrown eyelash hair, it should be dealt with the soonest time possible before the problem gets worst.

What are the causes of ingrown eyelash?

  • Chronic inflammation of the eyelids secondary to infection and allergies.
  • Sty on eyelid characterized by small bumps on the eyelids. It causes discomfort and irritation.
  • sports, and complication to surgery.
  • Autoimmune disorders like vernal keratoconjunctivitis, lupus, and Stevens – Johnson syndrome.
  • Inverted eyelids or medically known as Entropion, which is common in the elderly. It occurs when the eyelids fold inwards.
  • Psoriasis, a skin disorder characterized by thickening and scaling of the skin.
  • Eyelid infection, be it bacterial, viral, or fungal.


ingrown eyelash in the upper eyelid image

Image 1 : Ingrown eyelash in the upper eyelid

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Ingrown eyelash in the lower lidjpg picture
Picture 2 : Ingrown eyelash in the lower lid
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Cardinal Signs and Symptoms

  1. Inflammation/swelling of the eyelid
  2. Pain and discomfort
  3. The eyes become red and watery
  4. Eyelash touching the cornea, which cause visual disturbances
  5. Frequent eye infection

How to manage ingrown eyelash from eyelid at home?

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in the eyelid and you are suspecting an ingrown eyelash on eyelid, you can alleviate the pain by applying warm compress to the affected eye. To do so, soak the clean towel in warm water and place on the affected eye for a few minutes. Make sure that the water is not too hot to prevent any further damage.

Treatment ingrown eyelash

  • Use of corticosteroids – It is used to suppress inflammation. It does not get rid of the ingrown eyelash, but at least it can help in managing the symptoms, especially swelling of the eyelid. One of the commonly used corticosteroids is Prednisolone. However, it should only be used after consulting a physician.  Another drug from the corticosteroid family is Fluocinolone. It is used to alleviate inflammation and ease the redness secondary to infection. It is a cream applied on the upper lid.
  • Use of antibiotics – It is prescribed to fight infections. It cannot remove the ingrown eyelash, but it does help in managing the symptoms and treating the underlying cause. It is prescribed in the form of cream and drops. Some of the antibiotics commonly used are Gentamicin and Ciprofloxacin.
  • Artificial tears – It is used to treat dry eyes and to somehow alleviate discomfort and irritation. It reduces corneal scarring.

Procedures used to treat ingrown eyelashes


It is the process of removing hair from the body through waxing, shaving, or electric epilation. However, when it comes to eyelashes, such methods cannot be used. Epilation of the eyelash can be made manually or surgically. It is only recommended for one or two ingrown eyelashes. A local anesthesia will be used to numb the skin. The doctor will remove the ingrown eyelash using epilation forceps. However, there is a tendency that ingrown eyelash will recur.


This procedure uses electrical current to get rid of ingrown eyelashes. The electric current is passed through a fine needle and applied in the hair follicle. The purpose of the current is to destroy the roots of the hair. Electrolysis can be done using galvanic, thermolysis, and blend. Electrolysis is done several times to achieve the best result.


It is a minimally invasive procedure wherein an extreme cold is used to freeze and destroy the damaged tissue. For ingrown eyelash, the damaged hair follicle is freeze using a liquid nitrogen or argon gas. The advantage of cryotherapy is it is less traumatic and has less recovery time.

It is a painless procedure and comes with a few side effects. It is effective in permanently removing ingrown eyelashes. On the other hand, cryotherapy is an expensive procedure. There is also a possibility of damage to the surrounding tissues.


It is an invasive procedure for removing ingrown eyelash. It is recommended for people with multiple ingrown eyelashes. Depending on the general condition of the patient, he can be put under local or general anesthesia.

The goal of the surgery is to rotate the eyelid margin outward and away from the globe. About 3mm slit is made. Surgical procedure for ingrown eyelashes can be done for both upper and lower lids. The procedure can be very costly but is effective in permanently removing ingrown eyelashes.

Argon laser

It is a relatively new treatment method. It uses ionized argon as an active medium. It is applied on the affected area through non-divergent beam of blue and green light. What the laser does it is coagulates the cells and tissues. Prior to the procedure, a local anesthesia is applied. About 30 shots of argon laser are directed at the ingrown eyelash hair follicle.

Argon laser is an effective way of removing ingrown eyelashes permanently. It is highly effective and has low side effects. There is also a slim chance of damaging the surrounding tissues. The only issue with argon laser is its expensive price tag.

How to prevent ingrown eyelash?

As the famous saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” So, what are the simple things you can do to prevent ingrown eyelashes? Well, it starts with the very basic and that it maintaining a good hygiene.

  1. Keep your eyes and face clean at all times.
  2. Make it a habit to visit your eye doctor regularly.
  3. If you are wearing contact lenses, make sure you remove it before going to sleep. Never wash your face with your contact lenses on.
  4. If you are fond of using make-up, make sure you remove it before going to sleep. It is not only good for your eyes, but for your facial skin too.
  5. Wear eye protectors like sunglasses, especially when the sun is shining bright. Always wear goggles when dealing with hazardous materials.
  6. Make sure you rest your eyes by getting plenty of sleep.
  7. Give your eyes a relaxing massage by simply putting cucumber slices or cold compress.
  8. Protect your eyes from radiation, especially when using cell phones and computers for a prolonged period of time.
  9. Avoid working in the dark to prevent eye strain.
  10. Always apply the 20-20-20 rule. After reading something for 20 minutes, rest for a while by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make sure you blink your eyes every half a minute to prevent drying.
  11. Pay special attention to your diet. Eat foods known to keep the eye healthy such as foods high in vitamin A like carrots and pumpkin. Increase your intake of vitamin E foods like nuts and vegetable oil. Include zinc rich foods in your diet such as peanuts and beef. Oranges, berries, and other vitamin C rich foods are also good for your eyes.

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Published on by under Diseases and Conditions.
Article was last reviewed on September 26th, 2017.

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