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Demodex

It’s More Common Than You Think!

WHAT IS IT?

demodex blephclr1Demodex is a mite that lives on the face and in the hair follicles. It is associated with various skin complications of the eyes and face, such as blepharitis, acne rosacea, and other skin conditions. Demodex can appear at any age. However, research shows that Demodex infestation increases with age, being observed in 84% of the population above the age of 60 years old.

There are two existing types of Demodex mites: the longer kind, Demodex folliculorum, which live in the hair follicles and the short ones, Demodex brevis, which live in the sebaceous (oil) glands in the skin. The disease can badly damage the skin, usually when the immune system is weakened and the parasitic population has colonized.

WHERE IS IT?

demodex_folliculorum_clr3These mites are invisible to the naked eye, varying in size from .1mm to .4 mm long, they live in the pores of the skin and hair follicles, typically on the scalp, forehead, cheeks, nose, eyebrows, external ear channels and most often in the roots of the eyelashes. During the day, Demodex mites remain feeding within the follicle. At night, they emerge onto the surface to mate, and eggs are laid into follicles so that the newly hatched larvae may feed on sebaceous oils. After mating on the surface of the skin, they go back into the hair follicle or sebaceous glands and lay eggs, taking bacteria with them and excreting wastes and secretions. After death, their corpses become liquid and decompose inside the skin. As the Demodex complete the entirety of their life cycle in the eyelid glands and hair follicles, they cause mechanical and chemical damage to the skin. In the early stages, there are often no noticable symptoms. Left untreated, Demodex can progress to cause dry eye, red eyes, eyelid irritation and even a skin reaction that leads to acne eruption, pustules and a reddish color on the face. Demodex can be commonly confused with Rosacea.

HOW DO YOU GET IT?

microscopecrop 2The mites are transferred between hosts through contact of hair and sebaceous glands on the nose. In the vast majority of cases, the mites go unobserved, without any adverse symptoms. However, in certain cases, the mite populations migrate and multiply in the eyelashes.

HOW DO YOU TREAT IT?

cliradex-carton1Our doctors at Vision Care Consultants can readily observe Demodex mites by carefully removing an eyelash or eyebrow hair and placing it under a microscope. Those patients diagnosed with Demodex need to remember a few simple rules. Wash hair, face, nostrils, the external ear and the neck with soap daily. Apply Cliradex to eyelids and face twice a day. Cliradex stimulates mites out from deep hair follicles and skin causing direct killing of the Demodex. If excessive itching, redness or persistent irritation occurs, stop use immediately and contact Vision Care Consultants. Wash bedding and pillow cases in hot water and dry in a heated dryer immediately before beginning a lid scrub regimen, and once a week thereafter. Keep pets away from sleeping surfaces. If a family member has complaints of similar eye irritation, make an appointment for them to be examined by one of our doctors.

With treatment, the Demodex count usually drops to zero in 4-6 weeks without recurrence in the majority of cases. Patients receiving therapy show dramatic improvements in symptoms, eye inflammation, tear film stability and vision.

Up next: Read about Diabetic Retinopathy

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VISION CARE CONSULTANTS COVID-19 CDC COMPLIANCE STATEMENT

Eyecare services are currently available for you, your children and family. However, please consult our Google Business page or call us for our current hours of operation. We want to advise you about the procedures and efforts that we are making to address the challenges regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus. (Read more)

Our efforts you can expect at our practice:

  • Staggered appointment times with minimal to no wait times in our reception area. Patients may also check in and wait outside in their cars to be called in for exam.
  • Following guidelines based upon medical evidence and closely monitoring the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Educating our doctors and staff on preventative measures provided by the CDC with daily staff meeting updates.
  • Increasing the frequency and extent of our cleaning practices, such as additional wipe downs of all hard surfaces including the front desk, examination rooms after every exam and additional cleaning for all “patient touch points” (door handles, eyeglasses, counter tops, and other high-touch surfaces).
  • Providing additional resources that are available to patients and employees including hand sanitizers, extra soap and paper towels at all sinks and restrooms.
  • Implementing heightened sanitation and hand-washing procedures for all staff.

OUR PATIENT REQUEST:

  • Only bring scheduled patients to the office (1-Accompanied adult per minor or elderly patient).

  • If you recently traveled to any of the high risk countries within the past 30 days, please, delay & reschedule your appointment for 30 days after you returned from your travel.

  • If you have any flu-like symptoms (fever, chills body aches, & trouble breathing), please, delay your appointment for 30 days.

  • If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, and you arrive at our office, we will kindly ask you to leave & reschedule your appointment

  • Please notify us as soon as possible if you need to reschedule your appointment. This allows us to release your reserved time to another patient.

With appropriate precautions we will together address this challenge and modify behaviors that will make us better prepared to face such challenges in the future. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Dr. Brawley, Dr. Friederich, Dr. Seibel, Dr. Wehner & Staff at Vision Care Consultants