Eye doctors warn of lash mites after growing trend of eyelash extensions


KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) — With the popularity of eyelash extensions, eye doctors are now warning people to be more cautious saying people can develop infections or lash mites.

It’s a growing beauty trend. Eyelash extensions are meant to give a fuller, more lush look for women. But some eye doctors say it can also be a breeding place for bacteria, if you’re not careful.

Dr. David Burstein says he’s treated patients for lash mites and some of those patients have lash extensions.

“When you’re using things like extensions, and you create a little bit of inflammation, that knocks down the immunity and allows these mites to create an infestation,” said Dr. Burstein of Kenmore Eye Care.

But Burstein says lash extensions aren’t the primary cause of lash mites. In fact, he says he sees them in many elderly patients as well.

“It sounds bad and it sounds a little eerie but it’s really, a fairly normal thing to have,” said Dr. Burstein.

Eye doctors are urging people to thoroughly wash their eyelashes and eye lids, which can be an easy place for lash mites or lice to develop.

“That’s where they go, wherever there’s a hair follicle, that’s where they are unfortunately, certain ways of getting transmitted for lice,” said Burstein.

Burstein says if that happens it’s treatable with the right products such as those containing tea tree oil. He says there are scrubs, cleansers and wipes available.

Burstein says this isn’t to scare people from getting extensions, but to serve as a reminder to thoroughly clean your eyes.

“You want to be kind of rough on your lashes, don’t be gentle. You want to get right down to the base of those lashes,” said Burstein.

Burstein says it typically takes about 2 to 4 weeks to treat lash mites or lice. Then, he says, a patient is put on a treatment for maintenance. He says if people ever notice any issues with their lashes, whether they have extensions or not, it’s best to go see a doctor.

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