Demodex blepharitis is a very common cause of red itchy eyelids. Demodex is associated with over 60% of blepharitis cases in the United States. Patients with this type of blepharitis suffer from eyelid inflammation that can range from mild to severe. In addition to redness, demodex blepharitis can cause significant irritation. The demodex mites form a very specific clinical appearance that your ophthalmologist can see under a microscope.
In one study, done by Huang et al, 52.91% of pediatric patients with styes and chalazia had demodex. Recurrent chalazia was also associated with Demodex infestation. Another study was done by on patients who had recurring chalazion and styes. In this study, Demodex was found in 59.5% of patients who had chronic hordeolum or styes.
Blepharitis Demodex Treatment
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid caused by Demodex mites. There are a few options when it comes to demodex mites treatment. The first is basic lid hygiene. Make sure that you or your child are cleaning the eyelids and eyelashes with a mild soap at least one to two times a day. Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from an Australian tree. It can come in different forms such as eyelid wipes or eyelid cleansers and shampoos. The active ingredient of of tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol also referred to as T4O. Here are some more options when it comes to treating demodex blepharitis.
Oust Demodex Cleanser helps to remove adult Demodex mites from the eyelids and eyelashes. The cleanser should be used daily. Remember to also see an ophthalmologist who can evaluate if the infection is improving.
Tea Tree Wipes
The treatment of Demodex infestation usually involves the use of tea tree oil and its derivative products. These can be conveniently found in a wipe form. Tea tree oil eyelid wipes are a great option since you don’t have to worry about having a sink nearby to wash your face.
Demodex Blepharitis: Take Home Points
Blepharitis from demodex is a very common problem. Studies estimate that over 50% of patients with recurring chalazions and styes have a Demodex infestation in their eyelashes. Treatment with tea tree oil can be very helpful and this can be in the form of using a cleanser, eyelid wipes, or both. The active ingredient in tea tree oil wipes is terpinen-4-ol also referred to as T4O. Prescription medication for the treatment of Demodex blepharitis is currently being investigated.
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Elston CA, Elston DM. Demodex mites.Clin Dermatol. 2014;32(6):739-743.
Shah PP, Stein RL, Perry HD. Update on the Management of Demodex Blepharitis.Cornea. 2022;41(8):934-939.
Huang J, Guo MX, Xiang DM, et al. The association of demodex infestation with pediatric chalazia.BMC Ophthalmol. 2022;22(1):124. Published 2022 Mar 16.
Savla K, Le JT, Pucker AD. Tea tree oil for Demodex blepharitis.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;6(6):CD013333. Published 2020 Jun 20.
Gao YY, Di Pascuale MA, Elizondo A, Tseng SC. Clinical treatment of ocular demodecosis by lid scrub with tea tree oil.Cornea. 2007;26(2):136-143.
Jun SY, Choi YJ, Lee BR, Lee SU, Kim SC. Clinical characteristics of Demodex-associated recurrent hordeola: an observational, comparative study.Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):21398. Published 2021 Nov 1.