The electrolysis of eyelashes is a treatment procedure for trichiasis. Growth of eyelashes towards the eye could be inherent, as a result of aging or due to anatomy issues. This growth may cause pain, irritations, sensitivity to light, infection risks, or blindness in severe cases. Electrolysis therefore works to ease these issues, as well as prevent further risks.

Electrolysis employs an electric current to remove eyelashes permanently. It came into existence in 1875 after an invention by Dr. Charles Michael, an ophthalmologist at St. Louis. Since then and with minimal technological adjustments, medical practitioners have adopted the approach. Compared to other permanent hair removal techniques, electrolysis proves to be the safest and most efficient. Besides that, it is a comfortable procedure, and it accommodates every skin color. It can however be slightly expensive and time-consuming.

Also Known As

  • Electro-epilation
  • Electrical ablation
  • Electrosurgery


Preparation & Expectation Before Surgery

Electrolysis is an outpatient procedure that takes a short time. 

One will need a consultation to gather information such as:

  • How the process feels
  • The cost per session
  • The duration of each treatment session


The treatment which involves an area very close to the eye, may require the patient to sit still all through to prevent injuries. The patient may also need more than one treatment session since the procedure only addresses visible eyelashes.

Types, Purpose & Procedure

Electrolysis is of three types:

  • Galvanic electrolysis - It takes approximately three minutes and utilizes chemical action in destroying the eyelashes. Electricity is caused to react with a saline solution in the hair follicle to form sodium hydroxide, chlorine, and hydrogen. The sodium hydroxide, mainly referred to as lye, destroys the hair follicle thus inhibiting further hair growth.
  • Thermolysis - The approach entails the use of heat either manually or automatically and within a few seconds to damage hair growth cells. The water in the surrounding skin where the needle is inserted is caused to vibrate to produce heat. A substantial amount of heat will then damage the hair-producing cells.
  • Blend electrolysis - This approach combines galvanic electrolysis and thermolysis simultaneously, in destroying hair-producing cells. It relies on the idea that sodium hydroxide is more corrosive when it interacts with heat. The combination deems this technique as more effective, taking the shortest time while producing excellent results. It is therefore recommended by a high number of medical experts.


The procedure entails the following:

  • In either a sitting or lying position, the patient will receive drops of anesthesia that numb the eye surface.
  • The ophthalmologist will clean the eyelid using an aseptic solution followed by a local anesthesia injection to numb it.
  • The doctor then inserts a fine needle into the hair follicle of the troubling lash and allows current flow, which destroys the lash. S/he removes the lash and proceeds to the next worrisome eyelash following the same steps.


Risks, Side Effects & Complications

Possible risks associated with the procedure are bruising, swelling, and eye redness. Small bruises may appear as a result of an interference with blood vessels around the follicle. However, it is expected to heal after a few days.

The eyelids may begin to swell and appear red immediately after treatment due to an expansion of blood vessels in the skin. The vessels expand to intensify blood flow, get rid of waste and repair the skin.

A patient may experience the following side effects:

  • Soreness - Though subjective, one may experience a general feeling of discomfort during treatment. The sensation is relative to the type of skin, treatment area, and the patient's pain threshold. The eyelid may also feel sore after the needle is pulled out.
  • Irritation - Some patients may experience a reaction where the skin comes into contact with the electrode, thereby causing itchiness.


Complications such as the formation of scars and eyelid deformities, may arise with repeated treatment.

Aftercare, Recovery & Outcome

As a home care routine, the doctor may recommend the following:

  • Application of a prescribed ointment on the eyelid for a few days
  • Use of over the counter painkillers to ease soreness
  • Cleaning the eyelid twice a day using boiled water


Healing may take approximately two weeks, although one may immediately resume normal activities after treatment.

The procedure provides effective outcomes but occasionally, the eyelashes from the destructed area may regrow hence the need for another procedure.