Hidden companions in your eyes
Eyelash mites are elongated arachnids that belong to the genus hair follicle mites, Demodex.
Two of the species live on humans. Demodex folliculorum lives in the skin's hair follicles while Demodex brevis resides in the skin's sebaceous glands where they eat fat and glandular tissue. The mites' bodies are covered in scales with the help of which they anchor themselves. in the hair follicles.
Appearance and characteristics
Eyelash mites are only 0.4 and 0.2 mm long, respectively, so it is not easy to detect them, butall people over the age of five have them on their face. Especially in the forehead, on the cheeks, on the sides of the nose, in the eyelashes and in the ear canals.
Normally we are not bothered by our small inhabitants but if they become too many they can create problems. For example, the glands of the eyelids can be prevented from sufficiently lubricating the surface of the eye, leading to dry eyes.
Since they cannot dispose of their feces but collect it in the body, it remains in the hair follicle when the mite dies about 20 days old. If the mites are numerous in each hair follicle, the amount of feces can lead to inflammation of the hair follicles with irritation and hair loss as a result.
A closely related species, Demodex canis, does not care about humans but can create majorproblems for dogs in which it can cause skin irritation, fur waste, dandruff and paw infections. Some dog breeds are more vulnerable than others.
Excessive mite attacks can be difficult to treat because the mites live sheltered in hair follicles and sebaceous glands during the day and only come up on the skin's surface at night to shed their skin and mate.