Demodex mite – the cause of a bothersome eye and skin condition

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Demodicosis is a chronic parasitic disease caused by the Demodex mite (Demodex spp. – from Greek demos – skin and dex – worm). This disease affects both humans and animals. Human infestation is associated with two species: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis.

The Demodex mite resides in hair follicles and sebaceous glands, particularly in the facial area and the hairy scalp. The parasites are most abundant around the nose, around the eyes, and on the forehead.

Interestingly, the frequency of Demodex infestation in humans increases with age: it is low in children, whereas in individuals over 70 years old, the presence of these parasites is observed in over 90% of the population.

The most common symptoms of demodicosis reported by patients include:

Symptoms that occur in individuals affected by demodicosis can be mistaken for other conditions, such as allergies. This often leads to prolonged searches for the cause of discomfort and, consequently, visits to multiple medical offices.

The diagnosis of Demodex infestation involves microscopic examination of material collected from the patient in suspected areas where the parasite may be present. The preparation is examined for adult, larval, and/or egg forms of the mite.

The symptoms of the disease usually occur in people at risk. These include:

  • Allergy sufferers
  • Elderly individuals, over 70 years old
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems
  • Patients after antibiotic treatments
  • Those exposed to continuous stress
  • Individuals with inflammatory skin conditions
  • People with seborrheic skin
  • Patients after antibiotic treatments

Interestingly, the frequency of Demodex infestation in humans increases with age: it is low in children, whereas in individuals over 70 years old, the presence of these parasites is observed in over 90% of the population.

Symptoms of infestation:

In most cases, Demodex remains unnoticed, and infestation occurs without symptoms. The disease changes appear due to the parasite’s blocking of sebaceous gland ducts and the development of a local inflammatory reaction.

How to detect Demodex?

The Demodex mite resides in hair follicles and sebaceous glands, particularly in the facial area and the hairy scalp. The parasites are most abundant around the nose, around the eyes, on the forehead, chin, and in the nasolabial folds. They are less common on the hands, feet, or nipples.

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