by Dr. Robert Benza, MD 6. December 2013 12:10

Dr. Robert Benza

Eyelashes?  Do they have a function?  Can we lose them?  Can we make them grow? Eyelashes are one of the first protective mechanisms for the eyeball.  They help filter particles and keep debris from going into the eye.   Interestingly,  there are approximately 100 lashes in the upper lid and about 50 lashes in the lower eyelid.  There are usually 2 or 3 rows of lashes on
each lid and the lashes on the upper lids are slightly longer.  How can we lose them? Some conditions such as blepharitis (see previous blog)  can cause loss of lashes.  The inflammation
around the base of the lashes can result in eyelash loss.   If a patient has a lesion or bump on the eyelid associated with loss of eyelashes,  the physician needs to determine whether the bump is just a stye or possibly a more significant or destructive lesion.
As we all know, eyelashes can have an attractive component as well.  In this billion dollar era of cosmetics, eyelashes have also received some attention.  Latisse is a newer product on the market which enhances eyelash growth.  Interestingly,  we have used this product for many years as a glaucoma drop under a different name. Many of our glaucoma patients did demonstrate eyelash growth just by using the drop in their eyes.   Latisse comes with an applicator that allows direct application to the base of the eyelashes on the upper lid.  For those patients that have an interest, Latisse has been very successful in enhancing the growth of lashes.  Obviously, speak with your eye care professional to determine if you are a candidate.
Eyelashes along with the eyelids provide nice protection for the eye. As we learned earlier,  they can be lost or even enhanced. If you have any condition regarding your lashes or eyelids,  follow up with your eye physician.  They have a vital role in ocular protection.
Remember,  protect those eyes!!

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