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Cornea. 2010 Dec;29(12):1386-91. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181e2eac5.

Ocular demodicosis as a potential cause of pediatric blepharoconjunctivitis.

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  • 1Ocular Surface Center, Miami, FL 33173, USA.



To report Demodex infestation in pediatric blepharoconjunctivitis.


A retrospective review of 12 patients, with ages from 2.5-11 years, with chronic blepharoconjunctivitis who failed to respond to conventional treatments. Demodex was detected by lash sampling and microscopic examination. Patients were treated with 50% tea tree oil (TTO) eyelid scrubs or 5% TTO ointment eyelid massages for 4-6 weeks.


Demodex mites were found in all, but 1 case had cylindrical dandruff in the lashes. After 1 week of TTO treatment, all patients showed dramatic resolution of ocular irritation and inflammation while Demodex counts dropped. All corneal signs resolved within 2 weeks except for a residual anterior stromal scar in 1 eye. During a follow-up period of 8.3 ± 4.6 months, 1 patient showed recurrent inflammation, which was successfully managed by a second round of TTO treatment.


Demodicosis should be considered as a potential cause of pediatric refractory blepharoconjunctivitis. Eyelid scrubs or massage with TTO could be an effective treatment regimen in these cases.

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