an eyelash that arises from an abnormal spot on the eyelid of a dog
What is it?
Distichia are extra, abnormally positioned hairs (cilia) along the eyelid margin. These cilia can cause irritation to the eye because they are directed toward, instead of away from the eye surface.
What are the symptoms?
Many dogs go through life with distichia hairs and if few in number, usually cause minimal to no problems. Eyes irritated by distichia usually have intermittent or persistent redness, squinting, and increased tearing and are prone to corneal ulceration and scarring.
Who is susceptible to it?
Young adult dogs and older puppies of any breed can develop distichia.
How is it diagnosed?
Distichia can be diagnosed by a simple eye exam.
How is it treated?
When distichia are identified to be causing ocular irritation, the hairs should be removed so they do not cause permanent damage to the cornea.
There are a numerous surgical techniques available to remove distichia. The most common include cryoepilation, electrolysis, and surgical removal of small strips of conjunctiva containing distichia follicles. Cryoepilation involves freezing distichia follicles in the eyelid margin with an ophthalmic cryosurgical unit. This technique is especially beneficial when several distichia are present, and is associated with the most predictable healing post-operatively.