Meet the patient
Introducing Jason, a 13 year old patient who attended our practice complaining of longstanding itchy and red eyes. His mum (Anne) noted that he often woke up with sleep around his eyes and noticed he frequently rubbed his eyes, often causing irritation.
Previous recommendations were not working
Jason says that he’s had itchy red eyes since “forever”. They had previously been to alternative practitioners, who advised to simply try out different eye drops for itchy eyes as Jason’s symptoms were dismissed as allergies.
None of the eye drops really provided a long-term solution to Jason’s irritated eyes. Anne wondered if they needed to cease outdoor activities, such as soccer, in case it was the pollen that exacerbated his red eyes. From a teenage boy’s perspective, Jason did admit his frustration and embarrassment when his schoolmates would ask why his eyes looked red like he had been crying.
Eyecare Kids’ assessment and diagnosis
When Anne and Jason presented to our practice, we did a full and through microscope slit lamp examination. Through the magnification, we were able to observe small cylindrical dandruff along the root of his eyelashes. This is often a telltale sign of demodex blepharitis, which is an overgrowth of demodex mites! These mites are not contagious; in fact, they are part of our normal skin flora and fauna and are present on everybody’s face. However, when there is a mite overproduction on the lashes, it can cause generic irritation like itching, burning, redness and tearing. Just like Jason’s case, it can often be misdiagnosed as an allergy, dry eye, blepharitis or conjunctivitis!
Our treatment plan and outcomes
We diagnosed demodex blepharitis, and a specialised lid cleanser with tea tree oil was all it took to eliminate those mites! Treatment cycle of 6 weeks was recommended to cover two life cycles of demodex. We also initiated a treatment called Blephadex in our initial consult to thoroughly and manually clean the root of Jason’s lashes, remove debris and kickstart the process. After only 8 weeks, Jason returned with much whiter and happier eyes!
Thanks to Anne and Jason for letting us share their vision results!
Dr Janice Xue
Eyecare Kids Optometrist