Q: My upper eyelashes have been falling out a lot lately, and then growing
back uneven and sparse. It's mostly in the middle of my eyelid, right where
it's most noticeable, and no amount of mascara or curling makes my lashes look
any better. My eye doctor is stumped, and I'm worried I'll wind up without any
lashes at all. Is there anything I can do?
Dr. Donnica: To begin with, resist the temptation to apply false eyelashes,
although that might be your solution once an infection or irritation is ruled
out. The medical term for the loss of eyelashes is madarosis. This condition is
often due to blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids, but if you went to an
ophthalmologist, chances are s/he would have been able to diagnose that.
You didn't mention whether you've noticed hair loss anywhere else, such as
the scalp. In that case, the eyelash loss may be part of a condition called
alopecia areata. There are other possible causes too, ranging from rare hormonal
problems (an under-active thyroid gland may case eyebrow loss) to unknowingly
pulling your own eyelashes out as a nervous habit. I recommend consulting a
dermatologist. If s/he says there's no infectious or inflammatory cause, then
you can use false eyelashes until you see regrowth.
Created: 4/3/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.