Extra Eyelashes are found right on the eyelid edge, and they grow from glands in the eyelid edge. They are also called distichia - as they form a double row of eyelashes.

Extra eyelashes are seen in many breeds of dogs; notably Cocker Spaniels (American & English), Bulldogs, Poodles, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds and the Pekingese.

Ectopic cilia are usually single eyelid hairs that are growing the wrong way, and they actually grow right onto the eye. They may cause severe pain. Ectopic cilia can occur on occasions in any breed, but most commonly seen in Shelties and Pekingese.

Clinical Signs

1. Squinting
2. Blinking
3. Watery discharge
4. Conjunctivitis
5. Corneal irritation - scarring with vascular or pigment tissue
6. Corneal ulceration

Surgery is only required if the extra eyelashes are actually causing disease.

There are 2 techniques that Veterinary Eye Specialists use:

1. Transconjunctival Excision (TCE): Using the operating microscope each individual extra eyelash root is excised. This technique is preferred for ectopic cilia removal. The surgery is done on the inside of the eyelid so no scarring is evident.

2. Cryoepilation: This technique may be preferred in some dogs especially those with thin eyelids. This involves freezing the affected area of eyelid and then plucking the eyelashes. This may cause swelling of the eyelid for 3-5 days, and may cause temporary pigment loss. The pigment generally returns within 6 to 24 weeks.

Post Operative Care

In rare cases an eyelash loose in the wound may irritate the eye. Please call us if the eye seems to be sore or squints after surgery. We generally check the eyelids 10 to 14 days after surgery. At this time we may pluck dead eyelashes from the eyelids. The next check is then 3 months after surgery, this is the time when new extra eyelashes should be apparent.

Further surgery may be required

At any one time 10-15% of the eyelash follicles are inactive no treatment can destroy these extra eyelash follicles. With either technique it is possible for new extra eyelashes to grow. More surgery may be required if these new extra eyelashes cause irritation. It is rare for surgery to be done a third time.










Ectopic Cilia - Small black dot on inner side of eyelid