Distichiasis, Trichiasis, and Ectopic Cilia

NormalDistichiasisTrichiasisEctopic Cilia



What Distichiasis?

Distichiae are misplaced eyelashes that originate from the eyelid margin. Often they are directed towards the cornea.

What Trichiasis?

Trichiasis describes hair that is originating from the normally haired skin but is growing towards the eye and also touching the cornea.

What is an Ectopic Cilia?

An ectopic cilia is a hair that grows from the conjunctiva of the eyelid. Ectopic ciliae are often oriented perpendicular to the corneal surface.

Why are these conditions a problem?

These misdirected hairs can cause mechanical irritation to the cornea, which is a structure with very dense sensible innervation. You may notice that your pet shows excessive tearing, squinting and inflammation. After time contact between these hairs and the cornea can result in corneal ulceration and other problems if left untreated.

What should be done?

If misplaced or misdirected hair causes discomfort or other problems, removal is indicated. If simply plucked, these hair will grow back sometimes stiffer than before and cause more irritation. A permanent surgical solution is recommended. Under general anesthesia and with the help of an operating microscope the condition can be treated. There are several treatment options including freezing (cryosurgery), burning (electroepilation), and surgical excision (cutting out the hair follicles). It depends on the origin and number of hairs involved which treatment will be chosen.

What should I expect after surgery?

Your pet will still be uncomfortable for the first few days. Some of the techniques cause substantial swelling of the eyelids and possible depigmentation in the treated area. You will need to give some topical treatment for a short period of time after surgery. A recheck is recommended 2-3 weeks after the procedure.

Will this problem recur?

It is possible to have some grow from the same or new follicles. Sometimes these hairs need to be removed as well. The procedures are overall very successful at making your pet comfortable long-term.