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Definition

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis is usually related to the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow and affects both eyelids. This inflammation of the eyelids is the most common reason causing the dry eyes.

Blepharitis commonly appears when tiny oil glands which are located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged. This problem will make your eyes become irritated and red. Several diseases and conditions can cause blepharitis.

Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and may be unsightly. But it usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyesight. Although the eyes of patients are red and irritated, this disease is not contagious.

How common is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is common. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of blepharitis?

Eyelid inflammation is usually noticeable because it can irritate your eyes and possibly affect your vision. Symptoms of inflammation include:

  • Itchy eyelids
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Red or inflamed eyelids
  • A burning sensation in the eyes
  • Oily eyelids
  • A feeling that something is in or on your eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • A crust on your eyelashes or in the corners of your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

 

When should I see my doctor?

If you have blepharitis symptoms and signs that don’t seem to be improving despite good hygiene — regular cleaning and care of the affected area — make an appointment with your doctor.

Causes

What causes blepharitis?

The exact cause of blepharitis isn’t clear. It may be associated with one or more factors, including:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows
  • A bacterial infection
  • Clogged or malfunctioning oil glands in your eyelids
  • A skin condition characterized by facial redness
  • Allergies
  • Eyelash mites or lice
  • A hormone imbalance

There are two types of eyelid inflammation: anterior and posterior.

  • Anterior eye inflammation occurs on the outside of your eye where your eyelashes are located. Dandruff on your eyebrows and allergic reactions in your eyes can cause anterior eyelid inflammation.
  • Posterior eyelid inflammation occurs commonly on the inner corners of your eyes. This form of inflammation is usually caused by a malfunctioning oil gland in your eyelash follicles.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for blepharitis?

There are many risk factors for blepharitis, such as:

  • Medication side effects
  • A malfunctioning oil gland
  • Dandruff on your scalp or eyebrows
  • Have an allergic reaction to makeup or other cosmetic products you have applied around your eye, triggering eyelid inflammation.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is blepharitis diagnosed?

Tests and procedures used to diagnose blepharitis include:

  • Examining your eyelids. Your doctor will carefully examine your eyelids and your eyes. A special magnifying instrument can be used during the examination.
  • Swabbing skin for testing. In certain cases, your doctor may use a swab to collect a sample of the oil or crust that forms on your eyelid. This sample can be analyzed for bacteria, fungi or evidence of an allergy.

How is blepharitis treated?

  • If you have blepharitis, take the steps listed below to help cleanse your eye:
    • Wet a clean washcloth in warm (not hot) water.
    • Wring it out and place it over your closed eyelids for 5 minutes.
    • Rewet as necessary to keep it warm. This will help soften crusts and loosen oily debris.
  • Medications that fight infection. Antibiotics are prescribed for the eyelid which has been infectious. Antibiotics will provide relief of symptoms and resolve bacterial infection of the eyelids. These are a variety of forms, including eyedrops, creams and ointments to use for your eyelid. If you don’t respond to topical antibiotics, your doctor may suggest an oral antibiotic.
  • Medications to control inflammation. Steroid eyedrops or ointments may help reduce inflammation. Both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs can be combined to prescribe.
  • Medications that affect the immune system. Topical cyclosporine (Restasis) is a calcineurin inhibitor that has been shown to offer relief of some signs and symptoms of blepharitis.
  • Treatments for underlying conditions. Blepharitis caused by seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea or other diseases may be controlled by treating the underlying disease.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage blepharitis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with blepharitis:

  • Keep your eyelids clean.
  • Make sure you wash your face regularly. This includes removing your eye and facial makeup before going to bed. Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands and don’t rub itchy eyelids. Rubbing your eyes can spread an existing infection.
  • Don’t use eyeliner on the back edges of your eyelids behind the lashes.
  • If you’re in the early stages of treating blepharitis, you can prevent further irritation by not using makeup.
  • Once you do start to use it again, replace products used in or near your eyelids. They may be contaminated.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: July 11, 2017 | Last Modified: July 11, 2017

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