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Year : 1970  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 190-192

Pediculosis of the eye lashes

Dept of Ophthalmological, Government Hospital, Masulipatnam A.P, India

Correspondence Address:
C N Sarma
Dept of Ophthalmological, Government Hospital, Masulipatnam A.P
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How to cite this article:
Sarma C N. Pediculosis of the eye lashes. Indian J Ophthalmol 1970;18:190-2

How to cite this URL:
Sarma C N. Pediculosis of the eye lashes. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1970 [cited 2023 Dec 8];18:190-2. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/ijo/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?1970/18/4/190/35642

Pediculosis of the eye lashes, is not an uncommon condition. The lice occupy, chiefly, the roots of the eye lashes, to which they cling tenaciously, while the shafts of the cilia are covered with their brown nits. These give to the cilia, the peculiar appearance of being covered with dark brown powder.

  Characteristics of Pediculi Top

Pediculi belong to the Phylum Arthropoda. class insecta and order Hemiptera. The body of these organ­isms is divided into head, thorax and abdomen. Three pairs of leges are pre­sent on thorax. They are wingless in­sects and they have piercing and suck­ing mouth parts. The insect is about 1/12 inch long and is oval in shape. The eggs deposited by these insects, arc known as nits. These nits are oval, shining bodies, firmly attached to the hair at an acute angle by collagenous, material. These nits are found about half inch above the skin surface. They hatch out in about a week and reach maturity in two weeks.

Ophthalmologists are concerned with only Pediculus Pubis, as this is the variety that is found between the eye­lashes. Strangely, Pediculus capitis (hair-louse) and Pediculus corporis (body-louse), though they breed nearer the eyes do not infest the eye-lashes.

Phthirius Pubis or Pediculus Pubis is also known as crab louse. The crab louse is flattened dorsoventrally, abdo­men is shorter and broader. The crab louse is yellowish grey in colour, smaller in size, and its claws are strong and thick. All these features help in identifying the crab louse, from the head louse.

Each variety keeps to its own region, and the parasites, live upon the blood which they suck from the skin. They grasp the skin, with their jaws and bring their sucking organs into use, at the same time exuding a poisonous salivary secretion. which sets up pruritus.

  Clinical Observations Top

The present study consists of fifty cases of Pediculosis of the ye lashes, that attended the ophthalmic out patient department of the Government Hospital. Masulipatam, during the period of six months from 1-10-68 to 31-3-69.

1. The number of new cases, that were attended to, during the above period in the ophthalmic out patient was six thousands. The percentage of Pediculosis of the eye lashes comes to 0.8%.

2. Out of the fifty cases, twenty were males, and thirty were females.

3. Out of the fifty cases the age dis­tribution was as given below.

below 10 years- 6 cases

between 10 & 20 years - 20 cases

between 20 & 30 years - 14 cases

between 30 & 40 years 6 cases

above 40 years ... 4 cases

4. Out of the fifty cases, fourteen were school going children, sixteen were college going adults, three were scavengers by profession, seven were housewives, and the remaining ten cases belonged to other professions like tailors, clerks and school teachers.

5. All the fifty patients were found to have no regard for personal hygiene. Regular baths once daily at least, cleaning private parts regularly, changing underwears at least once in twenty four hours, dusting the axillary and pubic hairs with talcum powder, sham­pooing the hair on the scalp, and oil baths were never done by most patients in this series. Many patients never shaved axillary or pubic hair.

6. Associated infestation of the hair on the scalp, with Pediculosis Capitis was seen in twelve cases.

7. Pediculosis of the axillary hair was seen only in two cases, Pediculosis of the pubic hair was seen in three cases, Pediculosis of both these parts was seen in two cases. Pedi­culosis of die eye brows was not seen at all. 'Maculeae Caerulae' caused by the bites of the parasites, which are bluish marks on the trunk and inner aspect of the thighs, were not seen at all in this series.

8. All the patients attended the ophthalmic out patient department with the main complaint of itch­ing along the lid margin and burn­ing sensation.

9. Diagnosis is easy, provided the condition is kept in mind. With the aid of + 13.o D lens and binocu­lar loupe, the parasites were seen clinging tenaciously, to the roots of the eye lashes chiefly, and to the shafts occasionally. In majo­rity of cases, the shafts were covered with blackish brown nits and this gave to the eye lashes, the peculiar appearance of being covered with dark blackish brown powder. In all the cases, the infec­tion was bilateral.

10. In all the cases, eye lashes were cut up to the lid margin, and microscopic examination of the eye lashes was made to find out the type of Pediculi. In all the cases it was Pediculosis Pubis. Mixed infection was not seen in any case.

11. After the eye lashes were cut, the remaining parasites were removed with forceps. In all the cases the lid margin was examined with the help of a binocular loupe and + 13.0 D lens. Forty eight cases showed Squamous Blepharitis and two cases showed Ulcerative Blepharitis.

  Treatment Top

The eye lashes were cut completely up to the lid margin. The parasites, clinging on to the roots of the eye lashes and to the lid margin were re­moved with cilia forceps. The eye lid margins were cleaned with 2% sodium bicarbonate lotion. Yellow oxide of Mercury eye ointment 1% was given to all the patients for rubbing on to the eye lid margins thoroughly, twice daily. The treatment was carried out from four to six weeks.

In cases of Ulcerative Blepharitis, in addition to Yellow oxide of Mercury eye ointment, Aureomycin eye oint­ment was given for rubbing on to the eye lid margins. Procaine Penicillin, 5 lakhs daily for seven days was given in cases of Ulcerative Blepharitis.

All the patients were given instruc­tions regarding personal hygiene. The need to take bath daily, cleaning pri­vate parts regularly, changing under­wears at least, once in twenty four hours, shaving pubic and axillary hair regularly, cleaning the axillary and public regions and the necessity of taking oil baths was explained to all patients.

  Results Top

All the cases were seen regularly every week for a period of six weeks. The eye lashes take six to eight weeks to grow to their normal size. Cutting of the eye lashes, up to the lid margin and mechanical removal of parasites with forceps was repeated in cases which showed recurrence.

Ten cases showed recurrence and the treatment was repeated. Thirty four cases showed complete cure. Six cases were not available for follow up.

  Summary Top

A series of fifty cases of Pediculosis of eye lashes that attended the ophthal­mic out patient department of the Government Hospital, Masulipatam, is presented. Our clinical observa­tions, treatment and results are recorded.[3]

  References Top

Breneman, W. R. - Animal form and function. Oxford and I. B. H. Publishing House, New Delhi (1959)  Back to cited text no. 1
Duke, Elder S. - Text book of Ophthal­mology. Vol. 5. The ocular Adnexa. Henry Kimpton, London (1952).  Back to cited text no. 2
Herbert, O. Mackey - A Hand book of Diseases of the skin. Macmillan & Co. Ltd., London (1962).  Back to cited text no. 3


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