The Eyelash of the Beholder: How Lashes Play a Vital Role for Your Eyes

Did you know your eyelashes have glands?eyelashes-a

Or that you might have mites on your eyelashes?

Some interesting facts about eyelashes include:

  • Eyelashes fall out daily. Sometimes, as many as five drop in one day.
  • You have more eyelashes on the upper lid than on the lower. The upper lid usually contains about 200, and the lower about 100.
  • Eyelashes vary in length, with the longest lashes at the middle of the upper lid.
  • The eyelash has two sets of glands: oil glands and sweat glands. The oil glands are named Glands of Zeis (after ophthalmologist Eduard Zeis), and the sweat glands the Glands of Moll (after oculist Jacob Anton Moll). The glands keep the follicles unclogged and the lashes bacteria-free.
  • For many people, tiny mites named Demodex live at the base of your eyelashes. They come out during sleep to eat dirt, debris and cells shed by lashes. In many instances, this is beneficial, as it keeps follicles from getting clogged, although too many Demodex can become problematic, causing eyelashes to fall out.

Who would have thought eyelashes could be so interesting?

But eyelashes are more than just interesting. They play important roles in eye health.

Love at First Sight: Some of the Beautiful Purposes of Eyelashes

Eyelashes can enhance the eyes. Some people claim the eye is the first feature we fall in love with, so eyelashes can make you seem more beautiful to others.

But they play more than just a beauty role.

One of their purposes is to minimize airflow over the eyeball, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Prolonged airflow on the eyes can dry them out.

Also, because the eyeball is exposed, eyelashes can keep out dirt, sweat and debris. This can prevent viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections.

Five Simple Ways You Can Keep Your Eyelashes Healthy

For your eyelashes to serve their greatest purpose, make sure you take good care of them. To do so, you can start in a few ways:

  • Thoroughly remove eye makeup each night. If you don’t, you risk too many Demodex (those eyelash mites) in your eyelashes.
  • Replace eye makeup more often than other kinds of makeup. Mascaras, along with other liquid or creamy products, are wet, dark and damp. That may seem obvious. What may not be as obvious is wet, dark and damp products are more prone to cause infection. Bacteria can thrive in them, especially if the products are exposed to air. As a result, most manufacturers recommend replacing mascara every two to four months, and keeping other eye makeups no longer than three months.
  • Don’t share your cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools. You are more likely to develop an eye infection by sharing cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools.
  • Avoid plucking. Eyelashes generally grow at a slower pace than most other hair on your body. If you pluck too many eyelashes out, you run a greater risk of dirt, sweat and debris getting into the eyes.
  • Practice basic wellness. By practicing basic wellness techniques, like proper hand washing and regular showering, you can prevent infections like styes. Styes are red, painful lumps near the base of your eyelid.

Not only can lashes accentuate your eyes and help you look more beautiful, they play an important role protecting your eyes. As you practice proper eye care, don’t forget your lashes!

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