How to Get Rid of Eyelash Lice, Symptoms and Causes

The misery resulting from an eyelash lice infestation is immeasurable. Despite being so tiny, these parasites could see you lose your eyelashes. What causes them and how do you get them? What are their symptoms? Below we discuss these in addition to lash lice diagnosis and how to get rid of them.

Eyelash Lice

While this may seem strange, it is possible to get eyelash lice. Lice are tiny six legged parasites known to cling on the skin at the base of hairy body parts and feed on the blood of their host. They lay even tinier eggs which get glued to the root of the hair making them hard to spot. 

Though disgusting, they do not cause any serious disease. Lice, though, are highly contagious and easily spread from one person to another through contact. The most common type is head lice which affects children. Lice can also affect the pubic and it is also possible to have eyelash lice. Eyelash lice are not to be confused with eyelash mites

Female lice tend to be larger than their male counter parts. They lay eggs at the base of the hair. These then hatch after a seven to ten days. Once they are in the nymph stage, they begin to suck blood on the host. After maturing up, the adult females lay eggs and the cycle continues. According to CDC, a louse will die within two days of being off a host.

Types of Lice

The categorization of lice is based on their major areas of infestation

Pediculosis Capitis (Head Lice)

This type has an elongated body and is quite common on children. They are found on the head and are quite common behind the ears and at the back of the neck.

Pediculosis Corporis (Body Lice)

This one is common on the body. It is especially known to infest abdomen hair. According to the Web MD, these live and lay eggs on the seams of clothing and only get on the body to feed.

Pediculosis Pubis (Pubic Lice)

Also referred to as crabs due to its shape, this type of lice is found in the pubic hair. They can also be found infesting on facial hair, in the armpits, on the chest, on the eyelashes and eyebrows. Rarely, they can be found on the scalp. 

The different types of lice can infest the eyelashes. However, pubic lice are known to move from one hairy area to another mostly in the dark. These are our focus as we discuss lice on eyelash.

Eyelash Lice: How Do You Get Them? – Causes of Eyelash Lice

Eyebrow or eyelash lice are smaller than hair and body lice. They mostly find their way to the eyelashes from the pubic area and can also infest armpit and facial hair. So, how do you get these pesky parasites?

While pubic lice are mostly transmitted through intimate contact in adults,  children get them through general day to day body contact. They can be passed on to them through direct contact with infested parents or other individuals such as when they are lying on an infested chest. 

In addition,some other causes of eyelash lice infestation are through shared items. It is possible to catch eyelash lice by sharing sheets, towels, clothing and blankets with persons infested with pubic lice.

Of importance to note is that the lice do not fly or jump. You can only catch them through contact and sharing of personal effects.

Eyelash Lice Symptoms

Just like in other parts infested by lice, a person with lice on their eyelashes will experience severe itch. This normally occurs after five days following initial infestation. The itch is extreme and sudden and tends to get worse at night. Other additional symptoms of a lice infestation on the eyelashes include:
  • Small marks on the eyelids that look like bruises
  • Crusting at the edges of the eyelids
  • At times the eggs of the lice may be visible at the base of the eyelashes.
  • Conjunctivitis also known as pink eye especially in children
  • Eye redness
  • Tearing
  • In severe cases, the eyelashes may fall out.  

Eyelash Extension Lice - Eyelash Lice from False Eyelashes

Can you get eyelash lice from false eyelashes? This is most likely not possible unless they eyelash extensions are handle by someone infested. Still, this is a long short as they would have to get the lashes into contact with infested hairs. According to Snopes.com, there is no single documented incident whereby false lash extensions led to lice. The claim is simply a myth.

However, although glamorous, eyelash extensions or false eyelashes could prevent the wearer from practicing maximum lash hygiene. This could lead to bacterial buildup, eyelash inflammation and itch. Other reported risks, which are totally unrelated to eyelash lice from extensions are severe allergic reactions to the adhesive glue and infections that result in white bumps underneath.  Cases of eyes getting glued shut have also been reported.

Eyelash Lice Diagnosis

In most cases, you can tell if you have eyelash lice at home. The lice can be seen clearly under a magnifying glass. They will appear as crab shaped pale gray insects with their color darkening once they have fed on blood. The eggs can be seen at the roots of the lashes and will appear white. Where you are not certain on whether you have lice on your eyelashes, see your doctor for appropriate diagnosis.

How to Get Rid of Eyelash Lice

Getting rid of eyelash lice is a wholesome and complex affair. It requires the elimination of the lice from their source. This may involve decontaminating yourself, staying away from people who might have infected you. If the eyelash lice is on a child, avoid having them close until you have your lice infestation resolved. 

In addition to the above, here is how to get rid of eyelash lice as suggested by Jeffrey Weinberg, MD on Clinical Advisor:
  • Physical removal of the lice and nits.
  • Epilation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Yellow mercuric Oxide
  • Malathion
  • Cutting the eyelashes at the base is recommended for severe and recurrent cases.
Where you are not in a position to handle and get rid of the eyelash lice infestation at home, talk to your doctor so they can recommend appropriate treatment.

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