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The Mystery of Itchy Eyes: Lifting the Lid on Demodex Folliculorum

itchy eyes

Itchy eyes can be both frustrating and uncomfortable, with a multitude of potential causes behind the discomfort, ranging from allergic reactions to environmental factors.

One often overlooked culprit is Demodex Folliculorum, tiny parasitic mites that inhabit the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of mammals, including humans. While usually harmless, an overpopulation of these mites can lead to a condition known as demodicosis, resulting in irritation, inflammation, and itching around the eyes and eyelids.

Identifying a Demodex infestation isn’t always straightforward, as the symptoms can mimic those of other eye conditions, such as allergies, dry eye and conjunctivitis.

itchy eyes

Symptoms

Demodex mites can cause itching, redness, burning or stinging, dryness, crusty eyes, eyelash loss, sensitivity to light and/or blurry vision.

If you are experiencing any persistent eye discomfort, it’s essential to consult your optometrist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Treatment Options

Managing Demodex mites typically involves a multifaceted approach, combining:

  • Good hygiene – regularly clean your eyelids with mild cleansers or specialised lid wipes and avoid oily cosmetics
  • Medicated solutions – prescription ointments or cleansers to target and eliminate the mites
  • Environmental control – minimise contributing factors such as avoiding oily cosmetics, washing bedding regularly and manging stress levels.

Correct treatment and follow up with your optometrist is important to monitor progress and adjust your treatment plan if necessary. At Black Gates Optometrists, we will tailor your treatment plan for you to effectively combat Demodex infestations.

We also offer more the advanced treatments of IPL Therapy and Ivermectin Therapy if needed. These are explained below.

IPL Therapy

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy can treat various eye conditions including Demodex mite infestation. During IPL treatment, broad-spectrum light pulses are applied to the eyelids, targeting the meibomian glands and reducing inflammation. This helps to improve the function of the glands, leading to better tear quality and alleviation of symptoms such as dry eye and eyelid inflammation. This non-invasive procedure is often recommended as part of a comprehensive management plan for conditions associated with Demodex mites.

Ivermectin Therapy

Ivermectin, an antiparasitic medication is highly effective in combating Demodex mites by disrupting their nervous system, ultimately leading to paralysis and death. Topical formulations, such as creams and lotions, applied directly to the affected areas, can substantially reduce mite populations and alleviate itching and inflammation. Research has also shown oral ivermectin to be a viable alternative, offering significant reductions in Demodex populations with just one or two doses.

Is it time to come and see us?

If you are experiencing eye discomfort or irritation of any kind, it is essential to seek professional assistance. Our optometrists at Black Gates Optometrists are dedicated to providing world-class eye care and can effectively identify and address any underlying concerns or conditions. Don’t let eye discomfort hinder your quality of life – contact us today for expert assistance and effective treatment.

EXCELLENT rating
Based on 30 reviews
Careful, thorough, kind check-up
Max Stevenson
Max Stevenson
2024-07-20
Great service, friendly team. Have all my concerns about my eye care looked after so well.
Shirley Irvine
Shirley Irvine
2024-07-18
Very attentive, warm team from start of appointment to finish. Good communication throughout. Thanks😊
Colleen Ayrton
Colleen Ayrton
2024-06-17
Had a lovely experience the other day. Not only the girls on reception are super friendly, Greg Nel is so professional and passionate about his job; I felt really comfortable having to go to a new optometrist after going my whole life to another one overseas. Bonus: Greg is funny as well!
Charlotte Mallentjer
Charlotte Mallentjer
2024-05-17
Had a wonderful experience here. I had Amy who completed my eye test. Very thorough and lovely. Receptionists are always welcoming. Even while I was waiting for my appointment every staff member invested time into each person that came in. A warm, friendly, professional environment. Thank you Black Gates 😊
Marley Araiti
Marley Araiti
2024-05-10
Excellent friendly service. The staff have always striven to give me the best outcome for my optical needs over many years.
Liz Finnie
Liz Finnie
2024-02-14
Very thorough and helpful Frendly service would highly recommend
Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson
2024-02-11
Great service, good range, lovely facility
Paula Janet Barrington
Paula Janet Barrington
2024-01-29
Best eye fanglers I've ever been to, don't go anywhere else, particularly the cheapies!
Ian Hendra
Ian Hendra
2024-01-15