Distichiasis is an abnormal condition in which extra eyelashes appear along the lid margin(s) where ordinarily they should not grow. This condition is inherited, but prolonged eye irritation may also cause the unwanted lashes to appear.

Trichiasis is a similar condition in which the eyelashes grow from normal areas but turn inward and touch the eyeball.

Both conditions may cause excessive tearing, discomfort and serious injury to the eye. In some cases, however, the conditions cause no harm or discomfort, and treatment is not required.

Early eye damage is not readily apparent but may be detected with the aid of special optical instruments. Thus, treatment can be initiated before serious damage is done.

Both distichiasis and trichiasis may be present at the same time.

Various procedures can correct either disorder. The choice of the treatment will be based on your individual pet’s needs. Due to the complex, ongoing nature of distchiasis and trichiasis new irritating eyelashes may appear after the initial corrective procedure. Therefore, the procedure may need to be repeated. One should not become discouraged since correction can be attained, and each additional procedure reduces the likelihood of recurrence.

Notify your veterinarian if your pet shows excessive tearing or signs of eye irritation.