Why we have eye lashes and the benefits of them

Blue eye

Eyelashes are not just for putting mascara on! And by considering a problem like itchy eyes, we'll see why.

Itchy eyes can result from many different things getting into your eyes. If you ask yourself how often this has happened to you, the answer is likely to be not very often. This is because you have a very good first line of defence for your eyes - your eyelashes.


About eyelashes

Many of us can very easily forget we have eyelashes. Perhaps this is not the case if you apply mascara to them each day, but nevertheless, it’s part of your body that's simply there and is often taken for granted. Eyelashes however, have a vital role.


Primary function

The main function of eyelashes is to protect your eyes from being invaded by small particles, such as dust, sand and grit or any other airborne debris.


Secondary function

The second role of your eyelashes is to provide a warning signal, since they are very sensitive to being touched. So they give you a warning that something might just be too close to your eye for comfort.

You can think of them as being very similar to an animal's whiskers. In fact, eyelashes have been called "the gatekeepers" of the eye.


Problems associated with eyelashes

Blepharitis is an irritation in the area where your lashes join your eyelid. Eyelids can become red, itchy and the skin can become dry and flaky too, and your eyelashes can feel crusty or greasy and in severe cases could fall out. When you lose your eyelashes, the condition is called Madarosis.

Eyelashes can get infected with a parasitic crab louse. However, that's not the only possible resident your eyelashes may have. People have a tiny harmless mite living in their eyelashes and other hair follicles!

You've probably heard of people having an eyelash that grows inwards. This condition is known as Trichiasis.


One in the eye

In fact, we've all probably had a loose eyelash in our eyes at some point, and needed someone to help to remove it. Remember to exercise caution during this operation. Be careful you don't get the lash out in exchange for putting an infection in. So clean hands are a must. Care also needs to be taken not to scratch the eye. Solutions are available to wash out ‘invaders’ and bathe eyes in an appropriate way.


Protection and treatment

An eyelash in the eye can cause great irritation and an itchy feeling. So too can anything else that gets past the gatekeepers. So always protect your eyes when you can. For example, always use protective goggles if you're in a workplace where airborne particles are common, such as a workshop, a building site or a laboratory.

If you do get itchy eyes, you may find that whatever caused it is no longer there. This could be because the tear film in your eyes is constantly washed across them when you blink. So you may just be left with the itchy feeling afterwards.

Optrex has a whole range of products to help soothe itchy eyes. Keep your eyes open for them in shops and pharmacies, otherwise follow this link to the Optrex product finder.

So think twice about your lashes if you put on mascara. Try not to get distracted and end up putting make up in your eye. Eyelashes vs. mascara brush could be a one-sided battle and you might be in trouble before you can blink.


Optrex eye care. Always read the label. Optrex ActiMist™ 2in1 Eye Spray for Tired + Uncomfortable eyes*,

Optrex ActiMist™ 2in1 Eye Spray for Dry + Irritated eyes*, Optrex ActiMist™ 2in1 Eye Spray for Itchy & Watery eyes*. Always read the instructions.

*Dry, irritated, itchy, watery and tired eyes symptoms due to disturbed lipid layer of the tear film, approximately 80% of dry eye cases.