How Your Eyelashes Protect Your Vision

Discover the critical work your eyelashes do to maintain your eye’s health.
Eye looking into the distance

Besides complimenting the shape and color of your eyes, eyelashes play a key role in maintaining—and protecting—the health of your eyes. Here’s how they work.

How they help

When your eyes are closed, your eyelashes help seal your eyes from the elements. They filter and keep debris from getting into your eyes. Your eyes use tears to naturally wash particles and debris out, but your eyelashes trap particles and debris, preventing foreign objects from entering.

What are they made of?

Similar to hair, eyelashes are without nerve fibers and cannot transmit any sensation. However, the base of each eyelash follicle is full of extraordinarily sensitive nerve fibers. Try gently touching the tips of your eyelashes. That built-in sensitivity goes a long way to protecting your vision.

Eyelashes follow the growth cycles of normal hair follicles. You may experience the loss of an eyelash but don’t worry—it will grow back in about 8 weeks. However, if you notice an abnormal loss of eyelashes, it may be time to speak with your doctor.

Here are a few conditions that may affect your eyelashes. It’s always important to keep the area around your eyelids clean and avoid unnecessary contact. Excessively touching your eyelids or around your eyes can introduce bacteria and cause infection.

  • Trichiasis, or ingrown eyelashes, are follicles that grow inward, toward the eye.
  • Stye is a painful bacterial infection of an oil gland or eyelash follicle that results in a red bump on your eyelid.
  • Blepharitis is a bacterial inflammation of your eyelid.
  • Trichomegaly is an uncontrolled eyelash growth.
  • Madarosis is a condition that causes the loss of eyelash or eyebrow hair.
  • Distichiasis means having two rows of eyelashes.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, talk to your eye care professional.

How to find care With BCBS FEP Vision, finding a trusted eye care professional is as simple as a few clicks. Use the Find a Provider tool to locate an eye doctor near you. Keeping an eye on your vision health is easier than ever.


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