Pthyriasis palpebratum is a medical condition that affects the eyelashes, leading to itching, inflammation, and redness of the eyelid margins. It is caused by infestation with the crab louse, which is a small, parasitic insect that feeds on human blood. Although this condition is relatively rare, it can cause significant discomfort and embarrassment for those affected by it.

The symptoms of pthyriasis palpebratum can vary, but typically include itching, redness, and inflammation of the eyelid margins. In some cases, small bumps or nodules may also be visible, and the eyelashes may become thickened or matted together. The crab lice themselves may be visible as tiny, grayish-brown insects clinging to the eyelashes or eyelid margins.

Pthyriasis palpebratum is caused by infestation with the crab louse, which is transmitted through close personal contact or shared bedding, clothing, or towels. While this condition can affect anyone, it is more common in individuals who live in crowded or unsanitary conditions, or who have poor personal hygiene.

Diagnosis of pthyriasis palpebratum is typically made based on a clinical examination of the affected area. Your healthcare provider may use a magnifying glass or microscope to examine the eyelashes and eyelid margins for the presence of crab lice or their eggs (nits). If crab lice are found, treatment can begin immediately.

Treatment of pthyriasis palpebratum typically involves the use of topical insecticides, such as permethrin or pyrethrin. These medications are applied directly to the affected area and left in place for several minutes before being rinsed off. In some cases, a second treatment may be needed to ensure that all of the crab lice and nits are eliminated.

In addition to topical insecticides, other treatments for pthyriasis palpebratum may include manual removal of the lice and nits, as well as the use of oral medications such as ivermectin or malathion. It is also important to wash all bedding, clothing, and towels in hot water to kill any lice or nits that may be present.

While pthyriasis palpebratum can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, it is not a serious medical condition and can typically be treated successfully with medications and good personal hygiene practices. If you suspect that you may have this condition, it is important to seek medical attention promptly to prevent the spread of crab lice to others and to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment.

At The Eye Center- Dr. Mahnaz Naveed Shah & Associates our team of eight ophthalmology subspecialists/ eye specialists, eye surgeons who are considered amongst the very best eye specialists in Karachi and in Pakistan, have the diagnostic and treatment capabilities to treat from the simplest to the most complex patients. We work hard to provide our patients with the best possible medical and surgical eye care, in a state of the art purpose built eye care facility. We offer the entire array of medical, laser and surgical treatments to help provide patients the best possible care in the most efficient, safe and ethical manner.

If you need an appointment, please contact us at 03041119544 during our working hours or leave us a WhatsApp message at +923028291799 and someone will connect with you. Walk-in appointments are also available for emergencies. We can also be reached through our web portal on

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