Demodex And Dry Eye - The Optometrist
The Optometrist is a boutique Optometry Clinic offering the best in healthcare for your eyes. We service the local area around Stockland, Tooronga.
Optometrist Glen Iris Tooronga
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Demodex And Dry Eye

Demodex Under A Microscope

18 Jan Demodex And Dry Eye

What Is Demodex?

Demodex mites are the most common ectoparasite found on human skin. Since the eye is usually  protected by the brow, the nose and the cheek, the eye is not as accessible to cleaning. In addition, most people are not aware of the importance of maintaining clean eyelids and eyelashes. As a  result, the eyes are an ideal location for Demodex infestation to occur. This in turn, leads to demodex blepharitis.

The incidence of demodex infestation increases with age, occuring in over 40% of the adult population, 84 % of the population above 60 and in 100 % of the population older than 70.

Incidence Of Demodex Adult Population0%

Incidence Of Demodex Over 60 Years Of Age0%

Incidence Of Demodex Over 70 Years Of Age0%

Two Demodex species that have been implicated as a cause of blepharitis are demodex folliculorum, which can cause anterior blepharitis associated with disorders of the eyelash and  demodex brevis, which causes meibomian gland dysfunction with lipid tear deficiency.

Demodex Mite - Microscopic Image

Microscopic Image of Demodex brevis Larva (Liu et al)


What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Demodex Blepharitis?

The main symptoms of demodex infestation are itching, burning, grittiness, foreign body sensation, crusting and redness of the lid margin and blurry vision.

How Demodex Blepharitis diagnosed?

At theOptometrist, as part of your dry eye workup, we will assess your eyelashes and eyelids under high magnification. There is evidence to suggest that cylindrical dandruff surrounding the eyelashes (a combination of demodex excreta and debris) are pathognomic for demodex.

How Is Demodex Blepharitis Treated?

At theOptometrist, we utilize the Blephex device as the first step to treating your Demodex  blepharitis. The Blephex uses a tea tree oil solution with a medical­grade micro­sponge spinning  along the edge of the eyelids and lashes to remove the crusting and deposits on the eyelashes. This  is a painless process.

You will then be prescribed tea tree oil wipes to be used at home and your review schedule will be  prescribed by theOptometrist. Your treatment plan will likely be at least 6 weeks (two life cycles of the demodex mites) or longer. Your Demodex treatment plan may be prescribed in conjunction with a treatment plan for meibomian gland dysfunction.

Discard any makeup and try not to use makeup for approximately 1 week following your initial treatment to avoid re-contamination. Wash towels, sheets and pillow cases in hot water with the ‘high’ dryer setting. Try to re­wash these items weekly. You may want to discard your pillows.  You may also want to consider using tea tree oil shampoo.

If you have been affected, chances are your spouse or partner may be too and they should also be evaluated.  Contact Us to make an appointment.



  1. Pathogenic role of Demodex mites in blepharitis (2010) Jingbo Liu, Hosam Sheha, and Scheffer C.G. Tseng
  2. Blepharitis Diagnosis: Don’t Forget Demodex (2012) Michelle Stephenson
  3. Prevalence of Demodex spp. in eyelash follicles in different populations (2014) Maria Wesolowska et al.


Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. theOPTOMETRIST has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Please consult our optometrists, or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

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