What are Demodex Mites and Why Should I Care?

Demodex mites are microscopic, worm-like creatures that live on human skin, especially your face. While they sound unpleasant, for most people they are harmless. However, demodex mites can affect your eyes in a couple of ways:

Demodex and Eyelids:

  • Habitat: Demodex mites, particularly Demodex folliculorum, favor areas around hair follicles. This makes your eyelids a prime spot for them, living at the base of your eyelashes.
  • Overgrowth and Irritation: While usually present in small numbers, demodex mites can sometimes overgrow. This can trigger inflammation and irritation in the eyelids, leading to conditions like blepharitis.

Blepharitis Symptoms:

  • If you have blepharitis caused by demodex mites, you might experience:
    • Redness and swelling of the eyelids
    • Itchiness and irritation
    • Crusting around the eyelashes
    • Burning sensation
    • Feeling like something is in your eye
    • Dry or watery eyes
    • Sometimes even blurry vision

How Mites Contribute to Blepharitis:

  • The exact mechanism is still being researched, but here are some theories:
    • Waste Products: Demodex mites leave behind waste products that can irritate the eyelids.
    • Bacteria: The mites themselves might harbor bacteria that contribute to inflammation.
    • Immune Response: Your body’s immune response to the mites can lead to inflammation.

It’s important to note:

  • Not everyone with demodex mites will develop blepharitis.
  • Blepharitis can also have other causes besides demodex mites.
  • If you experience any persistent eye problems, consult one of our doctors for advice!