Demodex: the mites that live on your eyelids

Do you experience dryness, itching, fatigue, pain, blurred vision, light sensitivity or redness in your eyes?

Then chances are you have Demodex, a not so friendly mite that lives on your eyelashes.

The incidence of Demodex infestation increases with age and is observed in 84% of the general population aged over 60 years and 100% of the general population over 70 years old.

That means 100% of people will have Demodex infestation of their eyelids by age 70.

And yet how many of you have even heard of Demodex?

My point exactly.

So how do you prevent it?

Preventative Eye Care Technique #1: Clean Your Eyelids

You know how you brush your teeth every morning and night?

Well you should also be cleaning your eyelids every morning and night.

Below are some eyelid and facial cleaning products that kill demodex:

Lid Scrubs


Wash your hands thoroughly and open the sachet for a moist wipe. Eyes closed, place the wipe over the eyelid and lashed and gently massage until the entire eye area is thoroughly cleansed. Use an individual wipe for each eye to avoid cross-contamination. For best results, follow with Eye Proof Facial

Facial Cleanser


With eyes closed, apply 2-3 pumps of cleansing gel to damp skin with fingertips or sponge, using circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Preventative Eye Care Technique #2: BlephEx

BlephEx is an in office treatment where I manually clean off your eyelids. It’s like the equivalent of going in for your dental cleanings every 6 months. You should also be going to your eye doctor for eyelid cleanings every 6 months to make sure your eyelids aren’t infested with bacteria and demodex.

This is the BlephEx website for more information.

They also have a great animation of demodex.

They claim that cleaning your eyelids yourself is not as effective as their BlephEx technology, which is probably true. But I still think that cleaning your eyelids is better than not cleaning your eyelids.

Preventative Eye Care Technique #3: IPL

IPL aka intense pulsed light can kill demodex and bacteria.
It is also one of the best treatments for dry eyes. It stimulates your meibomian glands to secrete more meibum to lubricate and protect your eyes. I have been collecting IPL devices for years and finally splurged on the most effective and technologically advanced one: Optilight by Lumenis, which I put in my Newton practice.

Here is a very informative video about IPL: Eyes On Eyecare IPL Video.

According to my Lumenis rep, the only side effect is that is also gets rid of wrinkles. IPL is also used by dermatologists to get rid of wrinkles, dark spots, skin lesions, tattoos and unwanted hair. My associates and I have practiced doing IPL treatments on each other and have seen great results. I have also been know to IPL myself when my eyes feel dry from staring at my computer for too long. It feels like a spa treatment for your eyes. After the treatment, when I blink I can actually feel my eyes wetting and it feels amazing.


Lumenis’ IPL Technology: Bibliography of Studies & Peer Reviewed Papers

Li J, Luo X, Liao Y, Liang L. Age differences in ocular demodicosis: Demodex profiles and clinical manifestations. Ann Transl Med. 2021;9(9):791. doi:10.21037/atm-20-7715

Rather PA, Hassan I. Human demodex mite: the versatile mite of dermatological importance. Indian J Dermatol. 2014;59(1):60-66. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.123498

Dell et al. (2017), Clin Ophthalmol 11:817-827

Lumenis study submitted to the FDA: ( NCT03396913)

Liu et al. (2017), Am J Ophthalmol 183:81-90

Arthur B. Epstein, OD, Dry Eye – Ocular Surface Disease Center, Phoenix, AZ. PB-00039840 Rev B

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