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Eyelash Mutation: What You Need to Know

Eyelashes are not only a beauty feature, but also a protective mechanism for your eyes. They help keep dust, dirt, and other particles from entering your eyes and causing irritation or infection. But what if you have more than one row of eyelashes? This rare condition is called distichiasis, or double eyelashes. In this blog post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eyelash mutation.

What Causes Eyelash Mutation?

Eyelash mutation can be inherited or acquired later in life. The inherited form is usually due to a genetic mutation in the FOXC2 gene, which plays a role in the development of many organs and tissues before birth1. This mutation can cause a cell that is supposed to be part of the system that protects your organs to turn into a hair follicle, resulting in an extra row of lashes.

The inherited form of eyelash mutation is often associated with a rare condition called lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome (LDS). LDS involves double eyelashes and lymphedema, which is a buildup of fluid in the body’s tissues. People with LDS usually experience swelling in both legs, as well as other problems such as early onset varicose veins, scoliosis, cleft palate, and heart abnormalities.

The acquired form of eyelash mutation is less common than the inherited form. It is caused by inflammation or injury of the eyelid, which can damage the meibomian glands. These glands normally produce an oil that coats tears and prevents them from drying up too quickly. When the meibomian glands are affected, they can produce extra lashes instead of oil.

Some of the common causes of acquired eyelash mutation are:

  • Chronic blepharitis, which is eyelid inflammation caused by a skin or bacterial condition.
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which is a group of eyelid disorders that can also cause dry eye.
  • Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (OCP), which is a rare, chronic autoimmune disorder that causes scarring in the eyes, mouth, and throat.
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), which is a rare, serious disorder that causes layers of skin to die and shed.
  • Chemical injury to the eye.

What Are the Symptoms of Eyelash Mutation?

If you have eyelash mutation, you might not have any other symptoms besides the extra lashes. However, depending on the number, length, and direction of the extra lashes, you might experience some of the following:

  • Eye pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Vision loss
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Styes (small, painful bumps on your eyelid)
  • A feeling that something is rubbing against your eye when you blink
  • Scarring of the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of your eye
  • An open sore on your cornea called a corneal ulcer
  • Droopy eyelids

How Is Eyelash Mutation Treated?

The goal of treatment for eyelash mutation is to get rid of the extra lashes or to ease any symptoms you have. Your doctor might recommend one or more of the following options:

  • Argon laser thermoblation. This is a procedure that uses lasers to destroy the hair follicles that produce the extra lashes.
  • Cryotherapy. This is a procedure that uses extreme cold to freeze and remove the extra lashes.
  • Electrolysis. This is a procedure that uses electric current to damage and remove the extra lashes.
  • Surgery. This is a procedure that involves cutting out the extra lashes or the entire eyelid margin.
  • Medication. This might include eye drops, ointments, or oral drugs to reduce inflammation, infection, or pain.
  • Artificial tears or lubricants. These can help keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
  • Contact lenses. These can act as a barrier between your eyes and the extra lashes.


Q: Is eyelash mutation contagious?

A: No, eyelash mutation is not contagious. It is either inherited or caused by an injury or inflammation of the eyelid.

Q: Is eyelash mutation dangerous?

A: Eyelash mutation can be dangerous if it causes damage to your eyes, such as corneal scarring, ulcer, or infection. These can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Therefore, it is important to see your doctor if you have any symptoms of eyelash mutation.

Q: Can eyelash mutation be prevented?

A: There is no way to prevent the inherited form of eyelash mutation, as it is determined by your genes. However, you can reduce the risk of the acquired form by taking good care of your eyes and eyelids. This includes:

  • Washing your face and eyelids daily with warm water and a gentle cleanser
  • Avoiding rubbing or scratching your eyes
  • Using eye makeup that is hypoallergenic and removing it before bed
  • Wearing protective eyewear when working with chemicals or in dusty environments
  • Seeking medical attention if you have any signs of eye infection or injury

Q: Can eyelash mutation be cured?

A: There is no cure for eyelash mutation, as it is a permanent condition. However, the treatments mentioned above can help remove the extra lashes or improve your symptoms. Some treatments, such as laser or surgery, might need to be repeated if the extra lashes grow back.

Q: Are double eyelashes a sign of beauty?

A: Beauty is subjective and depends on personal preference and cultural norms. Some people might find double eyelashes attractive, while others might not. However, it is important to remember that eyelash mutation can cause serious eye problems, so it is not advisable to seek or create double eyelashes for cosmetic reasons.

I hope you found this blog post helpful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know. 

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