One of the most famous sets of eyelashes that have ever existed belongs to Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor, who is often considered to be one of the most beautiful women who have ever lived, had famous eyelashes for one specific reason: she had a genetic mutation called distichiasis.
Liz Taylor is known for her eyelashes because she actually had two rows of eyelashes instead of just one. Although having extra eyelashes doesn’t sound like that bad of a genetic mutation, there are other health concerns that must be addressed.
In Taylor’s case, her double row of eyelashes was believed to be a result of a mutation in the FOXC2 gene. Mutations in this specific gene are also known to be a factor in the primary valve failure in the veins of the lower limbs. Talk about a blessing and a curse!
How Does Distichiasis Affect the Eyelashes?
For most people, eyelashes will usually grow along the outside edge of the eyelid. Although we see this as a straight row, it is not always that way. For people like Liz Taylor, eyelashes would also grow where there would be oil glands on the wet part of the eyelid.
This increases the chances of an eyelash coming into contact with the eye, which can cause ongoing and painful irritation of the eye. Rubbing eyelashes have also been known to cause frequent tearing within the eye and in severe cases, may interfere with vision because the eyelash interferes with the surface cells of the eye.
Treating distichiasis symptoms often involve the application of an ointment around the eye or using eye drops. Some may also find that wearing contact lenses can be beneficial because this will provide a layer of protection between the extra eyelashes and the surface of the eye.
What to Do If You Have Distichiasis?
Having fuller eyelashes that don’t require mascara, castor oil, or other treatments to look lush and full might seem like a dream-come-true for many. If you have a double row of eyelashes and are struggling to keep them under control, there are some options that you can take to make sure any irritation you might experience is minimized.
- Pluck the extra eyelashes out. By removing the extra eyelashes, you’ll prevent the higher risk of irritation because the lash won’t be there.
- If plucking the eyelashes out is too painful, then freezing procedures are available that will destroy the hair follicle and potentially prevent it from growing back.
- This option will also remove the follicle through destruction and potentially prevent its return.
For most people who have lashes like Liz Taylor, the second row of eyelashes is usually thin, sparse, and could be brittle as well. It’s also more common to have a second row of lashes on the bottom eyelid, but it is possible to have them on top or on both eyelids.
Distichiasis affects men and women equally and it can be seen at birth, as it was with Liz Taylor, or it can be something that develops later on in life.
Have you been diagnosed with distichiasis? What treatment tips do you have that have worked for you to maintain happy and healthy eyelashes?