An eyelash or simply lash is one of the hairs that grow at the edge of the eyelid. Eyelashes protect the eye from debris and perform some of the same function as whiskers do on a cat or a mouse in the sense that they are sensitive to being touched, thus providing a warning that an object (such as an insect or dust mite) is near the eye (which is then closed reflexively).

Human eyelashes

The eyelashes of the embryo develop between the 7th and 8th week. Eyelashes take about seven to eight weeks to grow back if pulled out. Their color may differ from that of the hair, although they tend to be dark on someone with dark hair and lighter on someone with light hair.

The follicles of eyelashes are associated with a number of glands known as the Glands of Zeis and the Glands of Moll.


Long eyelashes are considered a sign of femininity in most if not all cultures. Accordingly, some women seek to enhance their eyelash length artificially to appear more feminine and sexually desirable. See also eyelash extensions.
Kohl has been worn as far back as the Bronze Age to protect and enhance lashes.

Complete eye makeup includes mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow to emphasize the eyes. The twentieth century saw the beginning of convincing-looking false eyelashes, popular in the 1960s.


There are a number of diseases or disorders involving the eyelashes:
*Madarosis is the loss of eyelashes
*Blepharitis is the irritation of the lid margin (where eyelashes join the eyelid). Eyelids are red and itching. The skin often becomes flaky. The eyelashes may fall.
*Distichiasis is the abnormal growth of lashes from certain areas of the eyelid.
*Trichiasis is ingrown eyelashes
*Eyelashes may become infested with crab louse parasites
*An external hordeolum, or stye, is a purulent inflammation of infected eyelash follicles and surrounding sebaceous (Zeis) and apocrine (Moll) glands of the lid margin.
*Trichotillomania is a disorder that urges the sufferer to pull out scalp hair, eyelashes, etc.
*"Demodex folliculorum" (or the demodicid), is a small mite that lives, harmlessly, in eyelash and other hair follicles and around 98% of people have these mites living on them. Occasionally they can cause blepharitis.

Eyelash and eyebrow transplant surgeries may be help to reconstruct or thicken lashes or eyebrow hair.


Lashes, being hair, are found in mammals. Camels' lashes are remarkably long and thick, and giraffe's eyelashes are considered by some to be more beautiful than a human's. Horses, cows, and also ostriches, (vestigial feathers without barbs) feature eyelashes as well.

Inherited eyelash problems are common in some breeds of dogs.

Eyelash vipers show a set of modified scales over the eyes which look much like eyelashes.

Hornbills have prominent feather eyelashes, an uncommon feature in birds.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eyelash — Eye lash , n. 1. The fringe of hair that edges the eyelid; usually in the pl. [1913 Webster] 2. A hair of the fringe on the edge of the eyelid. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • eyelash — (n.) 1752, from EYE (Cf. eye) (n.) + LASH (Cf. lash) (n.). Related: Eyelashes …   Etymology dictionary

  • eyelash — ► NOUN ▪ each of the short hairs growing on the edges of the eyelids …   English terms dictionary

  • eyelash — [ī′lash΄] n. 1. any of the hairs on the edge of the eyelid 2. a fringe of these hairs …   English World dictionary

  • Eyelash — One of the familiar stiff hairs that project from the margin of the eyelid. Eyelashes tend to be noticed mainly when something goes wrong with them. An eyelash gets in your eye and irritates it; you have an ingrown eyelash; your eyelashes fall… …   Medical dictionary

  • eyelash — (also lash) noun ADJECTIVE ▪ thick ▪ long ▪ black, dark ▪ false VERB + EYELASH …   Collocations dictionary

  • eyelash — UK [ˈaɪˌlæʃ] / US noun [countable, usually plural] Word forms eyelash : singular eyelash plural eyelashes one of the hairs along the upper and lower edges of your eyes …   English dictionary

  • eyelash — n. each of the hairs growing on the edges of the eyelids. Phrases and idioms: by an eyelash by a very small margin …   Useful english dictionary

  • Eyelash yarn — is a type of novelty yarn. It appears as a thread base, with several long strands spaced at even intervals that jut out at an angle from the main strand. The long strands, or hair, can be metallic, opalescent, matte, or a combination of types.… …   Wikipedia

  • Eyelash extensions — Like hair extensions, eyelash extensions are a cosmetic process whereby synthetic single fiber polyester thread like materials are applied to create a fuller, longer look.Fact|date=July 2007 Once a product accessible only to a limited consumer,… …   Wikipedia

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