The eyelashes are one of the protective structures of the eyes. Along with the skeletal prominence of the eye’s orbit, upper and lower eyelids and the lacrimal glands, the eyes are protected from various harmful environmental elements. Sometimes, however, due to different causative factors, the eyelashes undergo abnormal disease processes. The eyelashes begin to thin or fall out. If this condition is ignored for a long time, detrimental effects may ensue. This is the main reason that we must be familiar with the different causative factors of the eyelash diseases.
While most men ignore their eyelashes, women are more touchy with their eyelashes. This is due to the aesthetic purpose that the eyelashes serve. While this might be the case, the eyelashes are very important in maintaining the integrity and high level functioning of the eyes. Under normal conditions, an eyelash will grow back within seven to eight weeks after it was pulled out. Its color depends on the overall hue of the hair, but it tends to be darker for dark-haired people and lighter for light-haired.
Why Our Eyelashes Thin or Fall Out
All of us want long, thick and healthy eyelashes. Sometimes, however, a disease process may affect the overall health of our eyelashes. Of course, eyelashes normally fall out every now and then, but if the rate of eyelash thinning exceeds the rate of growth, this should concern you as this might be an indicator of abnormal biological processes in the body. The following are some of the causes identified with eyelash thinning:
Alopecia Areata – This is an auto-immune disease. It is a condition where your own immune system attacks your own body. Alopecia Areata targets those fast-growing cells of the body which include the cells of hair follicles. As a result, hair re-growth is suppressed. This condition normally affects the hair of the scalp, but it can also influence other parts of the body that have hairs.
Hormonal imbalance – The thyroid gland controls hair growth. Both under-activity and over-activity of the thyroid gland can cause eyelashes to thin.
Madarosis – This is one of the signs of Hansen’s disease—better known as leprosy.
Infection – The most common causative microorganism that can cause eyelashes to thin is the Demodex folliculorum. This microorganism is a small mite that is a normal flora of the eyelashes and other hair follicles. When the body’s immune system is compromised, this mite proliferates and causes infection.
Aging – Research shows that the most common cause of hair loss is aging. Because of a drop of certain hormones and the decreased efficiency of the glands producing them, hair follicles are not stimulated enough to promote hair growth.
There are other causes of eyelash thinning aside from the causative factors mentioned above. Some of the causes might not be modifiable, but we can still do our part to stop eyelashes from thinning and falling out. To get reliable information about this subject, consulting a dermatologist or physician is a wise step to take.