If you think you can suffer silently for long periods of time, meet Ms. Xu. Her eyes were persistently red and itchy for more than two years.
One can only imagine that it finally became too much, and she went to see a doctor at last. They confirmed that she not only had conjunctivitis and blepharitis, but mites.
Yes, mites. Hundreds of them. Living in her eyelashes.
Image source: dailymail.co.uk
How does this happen? Well, it took some investigating, but Ms. Xu eventually confessed that it had been years since she washed her pillowcases. Five years, to be exact.
Mites are typically less than one millimeter in length, which may explain how Ms. Xu didn’t know exactly what was going on. She says that she got used to having red and itchy eyes all of the time, and would just use a lot of eye drops.
Image source: youtube.com
But the mites eventually took over her eyes, and once Ms. Xu’s eyelashes were practically glued together by the mysterious, microscopic arachnids, she cried uncle and saw a doctor.
Image source: wikimedia.com
Blepharitis, which Ms. Xu was also suffering from, involves flaking, scaly skin at the base of the eyelashes. This may have helped the mites proliferate, as we know some mites love to eat dead skin. The truth is, scientists don’t know a great deal about mites because there may be many different species.
What is known is that Ms. Xu had approximately ten mites on each eyelash.
Image source: kiwireport.com
It is standard to wash your sheets and pillowcases every single week. Comforters and the pillows themselves should be washed four times a year, or as needed. In addition to never washing her sheets, Ms. Xu had poor ventilation in her bedroom.
The combination of stale air and a filthy bed were just too attractive to the hordes of mites we meet at night.
Image source: inspiringday.com
Mites in bed are really common. You have them, too! It’s just that with proper washing and hygiene, they die off quicker and we keep populations under control.
While everything should be clean, that doesn’t necessarily mean tidy.
Image source: thesun.co.uk
Mites like to get cozy in bed with you. They like the warmth, as well as the slight moisture that comes with heat being trapped under the covers and sheets. By leaving your bed unmade, you’re letting this warmth and moisture dissipate, which means the mites will die faster.
So when you make your bed in the morning, you could actually be tucking the mites in for a day of breeding, eating, and generally waiting around for you to come back to bed.
Image source: huffingtonpost.com
It’s also critical that you see a doctor if your eyes are chronically irritated. Don’t suffer in silence like Ms. Xu did; she’s really lucky she can still see!