Blepharitis is a common, non-contagious eye condition that is characterized by inflammation of the eyelids. Patients who experience this condition may suffer from a range of unpleasant symptoms that affect the way they their eyes look and feel. Fortunately, there are treatments available which can address this problem and help you to enjoy healthy, full-functioning eyes once more.
To help you understand this condition a little more, here is what you need to know about blepharitis.
There are actually two different types of blepharitis.
Anterior blepharitis: Anterior blepharitis is characterized by inflammation that affects the skin around the outside front edge of eyelid where the eyelashes attach, causing swelling and soreness.
Posterior blepharitis: Posterior blepharitis affects the inner edge of the eyelid that touches the eyeball.
It is not always known exactly why some patients develop blepharitis and others don’t. However, there are some possible factors which are believed to make the condition more likely. These include:
- A condition called seborrheic dermatitis that makes the skin around the base of the eyelashes either flaky, causing the glands in the eyelids to become blocked and triggering inflammation.
- A reaction to staphylococcus bacteria which lives harmlessly on the skin of the majority of patients.
- A skin condition called acne rosacea.
- Meibomianitis, which is a problem with the meibomian oil glands found inside the eyelids.
- Viral infection.
- Allergic reactions to cosmetics or medications.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to arrange an appointment with your eye doctor. Whilst these symptoms are indicative of blepharitis, even if you are not diagnosed with the condition, you still need professional support to improve the health of your eyes.
Common signs of blepharitis include red, irritated eyelids, eyelids that are itchy, scaly or crusty, eyes that feel dry or gritty, and eyelashes that may fall out. You may also notice that your eyelids are sticking together when you wake up in the morning.
In most instances, blepharitis can be treated at home by following the advice of your eye doctor. You will be recommended to regularly wash your eyelids and eyelashes using warm water and baby shampoo, using a clean cotton pad to wipe the mixture across each eyelid multiple times with your eyes closed. Then pat them dry with a clean towel. Alternatively, you can take a shower and let warm water run over your closed eyes before putting a few drops of sensitive/baby shampoo onto a washcloth and gently cleaning your eyelids.
If regular cleaning of your eyes isn’t providing sufficient relief from your symptoms, your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotic creams or drops. These must be used exactly as directed. If these don’t help after around 6 weeks, oral antibiotics may also be recommended, but this is rare.
For more information about blepharitis, or to schedule an appointment with our expert team, please contact our eye care center today.