Eyelashes may keep the focus on your beautiful eyes, but they serve a practical purpose as well — they prevent some foreign objects from getting into your eyes. It’s normal to lose a few eyelashes each day, but if you seem to be losing several, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
Alopecia areata, or AA, is an autoimmune disease that affects the hair follicles. You’ll typically see patches of hair on the head falling out if you have this disease, but you may also see your eyelashes falling out. Due to the sensitivity of the eyes, you can’t use a topical treatment to stimulate hair growth. There are no drugs approved to treat AA. Doctors may use medicines approved for other diseases to help regrow hair.
Trichotillomania is a psychiatric disorder that could cause you to pull out your hair, including your eyelashes. If you have an uncontrollable urge to do this, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about ways that you can cope, including medications.
If you have swollen eyelids, particularly around the lash line, it could be blepharitis, which occurs when the oil glands at the base of the eyelashes malfunction. This leads to inflammation of the eyelids, causing eyelash loss. MayoClinic.com states that in some cases, you can treat this condition by simply washing the area with a warm washcloth frequently. However, if the condition is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe eyedrops containing antibiotics. If the blepharitis is caused by seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea or another disease, your doctor will treat the underlying cause.
Eyelash loss can also be a symptom of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. With this condition, you will also notice other symptoms, like sluggishness, a puffy face, unexplained weight gain, muscle weakness and depression. If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
Occasionally, a poor diet can result in hair loss. If you’ve recently made changes to your diet — such as following a strict crash diet or if you haven’t been eating due to stress or depression — this may be why your eyelashes are falling out.