Distichiae of the upper and lower lid of a dog
A distichia is an eyelash that arises from an abnormal spot on the eyelid. The mutation affects dogs and humans. Distichiae usually exit from the duct of the meibomian gland at the eyelid margin. They are usually multiple and sometimes more than one arises from a duct. They can affect either the upper or lower eyelid and are usually bilateral. The lower eyelids of dogs usually have no eyelashes. Distichiae usually cause no symptoms because the lashes are soft, but they can irritate the eye and cause tearing, squinting, inflammation, and corneal ulcers and scarring. Treatment options include manual removal, electrolysis, electrocautery, cryotherapy, and surgery.
Commonly affected breeds
In veterinary medicine, some canine breeds are affected by distichiasis more frequently than others:
An ectopic cilia is a special type of distichia. It is usually found in younger dogs. Commonly affected breeds include Poodles, Golden Retrievers, and Shih Tzus. The eyelash exits through the conjunctiva of the eyelid facing toward the eye, usually at the middle of the upper eyelid. It can cause intense pain and corneal ulcers. Treatment is surgery or cryotherapy.
In human beings
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Elizabeth Taylor was born with the abnormality, although did not suffer any ill effects. Some have said that it enhanced the beauty of her eyes. Although not a secret -- several biographies of Taylor make reference to this -- it did not become widely known by the public until after Taylor's death in 2011.
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