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Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a eyelid condition that causes inflammation and is often associated with a bacterial infection. Certain types of skin conditions and pre-existing eye problems like dry eye,  have proven  to increase the risk of contracting blepharitis. Other conditions like chalazion often cause complications associated with blepharitis.

There are two forms of blepharitis:

  • Anterior blepharitis which affects the outside of the eyelid where the eyelashes attach
  • Posterior blepharitis where the glands that help lubricate the eye behave abnormally

Causes Of Blepharitis

Growth of bacteria can cause dandruff like particles to form along the base of the eyelid. Generally, bacterial growth is kept in check by our body’s defense mechanisms but sometimes pre-existing skin conditions like acne or the improper secretion of oil from glands around the eye can cause bacteria to build up, resulting in the eye lid and tissue around the eye to be affected.

Cosmetics are also believed to be a cause of blepharitis. If you have recently changed brands of makeup or have started using cosmetics more often, discontinue use and observe if the condition subsides.

Symptoms Of Blepharitis

Both forms of blepharitis, anterior and posterior, share common symptoms:

  • Foreign body or burning sensation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Red and swollen eyelids
  • Redness of the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Frothy tears
  • Crusting of the eyelids upon waking

Treatment Of Blepharitis

Treatment can be difficult because blepharitis is often chronic and reoccurs frequently. Our Optometrists at Schaeffer Eye Center recommend instituting a more rigorous eye care hygiene routine:

  • Using a warm washcloth, apply pressure to the eyelids
  • A commercial lid scrub or other product to remove bacteria from the affected area
  • Massage the eyelids to clean oil accumulated within the glands surrounding the eye

A complete cure for blepharitis currently does not exist. That is why proper hygiene and preventive measures are the best tools to combat this condition. For those that wear contacts, discontinue use at the first sign of these symptoms and do not resume use until symptoms subside.

Minimizing the use of eye makeup is another preventative measure, as cosmetics can interfere with eye  hygiene and  cause an allergic reaction.

Over the counter eye drops can be utilized alongside other existing eye conditions. For cases that are more severe, steroidal eye drops or antibiotics can be used to provide relief.