Conditions that Cause Eyelash Loss
Sometimes eyelash loss, or madarosis, is caused by more than the effects of aging, improper makeup or eye makeup use, or harsh products. There are many different physical conditions and bodily reactions that can trigger madarosis, which is also known as milphosis. It can then be important to rule out these causes with a thorough medical evaluation. They include:
- Blepharitis – An irritation of the lash line that cause itching and redness. The skin often becomes flaky and the eyelashes may fall out.
- Distichiasis – Is an abnormal growth of lashes. It may cause lashes to be pushed out or irregular growth patterns along the eyelids.
- Trichiasis – Refers to ingrown eyelashes, which can cause irritation and infection leading to eyelash loss.
- Styes – Also known as external hordeolums, styes are inflammations of infected eyelash follicles and the surrounding glands along the lash line. They can directly cause lashes to fall out, or can indirectly cause lash loss through rubbing.
- Trichotillomania – A compulsive disorder that causes people to pull out hair, including eyelashes. A therapy called Habit Reversal Training has shown promise in helping sufferers recognize the impulses and redirect them.
- Demodex – Folliculorum is a mite that lives in pores and hair follicles and can be found on almost everyone’s eyelashes, usually without any harmful effects. However, sometimes many pile into a single follicle, causing irritation, skin flaking, redness, and lash loss due to their presence.
- Infection – Staphylococcal infections may cause eyelash lightening, trichiasis, and loss. Other infections that may lead to eyelash loss include leprosy, chronic ulcerative blepharitis, tuberculosis, severe acute bacterial infections such as scarlet fever, viral infections such as herpes zoster, smallpox, measles, hepatitis, and Chlamydia trachomatis. Fungal infections may also cause madarosis.
- Allergies – The irritation and rubbing caused by allergic reactions may lead to eyelash loss.
- Tumors both benign and malignant tumors in the eyelids can have eyelash loss as a symptom.
- Thyroid disorders – Can cause slower hair growth and loss of eyelashes. Hyperthyroidism may cause hair to thin, break, shorten, and fall out in patches. Eyelash loss is often an early sign of hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism may cause hair to become brittle, coarse, and thinner, which can lead to a diminished appearance of eyelashes and possible loss.
- Medication – Some drugs can cause eyelash loss as a side effect. Drugs known to cause eyelash loss include the psoriasis medications Acitretin, Soriatane, and Neotigason. Other drugs that may cause eyelash loss include miotics, anticoagulants, anticholesterol drugs, antithyroid drugs, boric acid, bromocriptine, propranolol, valproic acid, cocaine use, and intoxication with arsenic, bismuth, thallium, gold, quinine, and vitamin A.
- Lice eyelashes – Can also become infested with crab louse parasites, triggering irritation and eyelash loss.
- Malnutrition – Can cause a host of negative effects on your appearance, including hair and eyelash loss.
- Other – Many other, less common, causes of eyelash loss include Vogt-Koyanagi syndrome, epidermolysis bullosa, rosacea, psoriasis, metabolic diseases such as mitochondriopathy, adrenoleukodystrophy, Meige syndrome, sickle cell anemia, and HIV infection.