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How Does the Demodex Mite Cause Blepharitis?

What are demodex mites?

Demodex parasite under skin in dog or people take photo from microscope Demodex parasite under the skin in dog take a photo from microscope demodex stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

The demodex mite can cause blepharitis, resulting in inflammation of the eyelids and severe dry eye.

Demodex folliculorum is a type of demodex mite that lives mostly within the hair follicles on the face and the eyes and is usually found on the eyelids and lashes.

Demodex mites come out during the night to eat dead skin cells, lay eggs and expel waste products in your eyelid glands and eyelash follicles.

Demodex mites naturally occur on the skin in small amounts and can actually be beneficial for the skin, as they remove the dead skin cells. In small numbers, they typically do not cause any harm or symptoms.

However, if they reproduce in large numbers, they can cause significant damage to the skin and eyes— dry, red, and itchy skin, and/or eczema, as well as severe inflammation of the eyelids, and damage to the oil glands in the eyelid margins, meibomian glands and eyelashes.

How does a demodex mite infestation cause blepharitis?

Right upper eye lid abscess "stye or hordeolum" Close up right upper eye lid abscess "stye or hordeolum" blepharitis stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Blepharitis affects up to 45 percent of people and occurs when the eyelids become inflamed. Blepharitis typically occurs as a result of a blockage in the oil glands at the base of the eyelashes, sometimes as a result of a demodex mite infestation.

Demodex mites become more prevalent with age, and are typically the cause of blepharitis in patients over the age of 60.  

Additionally, patients with chronic rosacea tend to have more demodex mites than people without rosacea, putting them at a higher risk of developing demodex blepharitis.

What are the symptoms of demodex blepharitis?

Common eye symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • White flakes in your eyelashes
  • Burning or stinging
  • Eye or eyelid irritation
  • Itchy eyes or eyelids
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Intermittent blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Brittle/loss of eyelashes
  • Misdirected eyelashes
  • Eye or eyelid infections

Demodex mites can cause blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eyes, styes, chalazion, and ocular rosacea.

If you experience any of these symptoms contact an eye doctor near you so that you can start treating your demodex blepharitis.

Original Link: and Dr. Russel Lazarus