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Itchy Eyes and Crusty Lids? It could be Demodex

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Many Americans are unaware of a startling fact: right now, there are likely several thousand microscopic mites living on your face. The tiny pests, called demodex, live in the pores of the skin and are most active during the night when they feed on oil produced by glands and skin cells around the eyes.
 
While nearly everyone has some demodex living on their skin, you likely won’t notice any problems until there is a serious infestation. Dry eyes, itchy eyes, reddish skin or eyes, and crusty whitish flakes on your eye lashes are all symptoms indicating it could be a proliferation of the mites, which are not visible without the use of a microscope. Demodex can be a root cause of Dry Eye Disease and many skin conditions like rosacea.


Perhaps most concerning is that more than half of people with serious demodex problems go 4 years or more without a diagnosis. Thankfully, there is no need to suffer any longer because MOA-Shrewsbury’s Medical Director Dr. Leslie O’Dell is a leading expert on the prevention, detection, and treatment of demodex. In fact, Dr. O’Dell and several colleagues recently presented promising new findings about prospective treatment options for demodex at the American Academy of Optometry meeting in Boston in November 2021. Her research over the past several years will lead to the first FDA-approved medication to treat this common malady.


Until the pharmaceutical treatment is available, Dr. O’Dell advises patients to treat any problems with at-home cleansers, which are available now at MOA. Dr. O’Dell also offers an in-office cleansing process known as microexfoliation that treats and cleans the sensitive skin around the eyes. Microexfoliation is an advisable treatment for anyone looking to maintain optimal eye health as it helps pores and oil glands function properly. The process is comparable to an annual dental cleaning for your eyes.

Daily face washing, daily makeup removal, and avoiding the use of false eyelashes are all effective ways to keep demodex at bay.

If you have questions or are concerned you may have symptoms of demodex, contact Dr. O’Dell or schedule an appointment with MOA today

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