What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is one of the most common disorders of the eyelids. It is an inflammation of the eyelid margins. There are several different types, most of which are caused by colonization of bacteria. Rarely, does it become an infection.

What are the symptoms?

Commonly, the eyelid margins are red with scales and flakes at the base of the eyelashes. There may be irritation with the sensation of a foreign body in the eye accompanied with redness, burning and itching of the eyelid margin. Upon waking up in the morning, the eyelids may feel sticky with crusted matter caused by an oily discharge from the eyelid glands. Untreated, these glands may become plugged leading to recurrent styes. The eyes may also be dry from inadequate coating by the oils secreted from the plugged glands.

How is it cured?

Unfortunately, it is a chronic condition for which there is no known cure. Early diagnosis and proper treatment is key to controlling the symptoms and worsening of the condition.

How is it treated?

The only proven effective treatment is lid hygiene. Lid hygiene is done as follows:

Apply a warm compress to eyelids four (4) times a day (minimum 10 minutes, up to 15 minutes). This will dilate the pores and melt the oils so they can be excreted properly. Gently massage the eyelids while the warm compress is over the eyes. This will stimulate the gland to secrete the oils.

Clean lids with baby shampoo or lid care products. If using baby shampoo, dilute 1:10, apply diluted solution to a wet washcloth and create a lather. With the eyes closed, wash the eyelids and rinse thoroughly. This should be done after warm compresses.

If necessary, use artificial tears four (4) times a day to help coat the eye so they do not become dry or irritated.

It should be noted that the above treatment could take up to 6 weeks before improvement is noticed, so it is very important to make lid hygiene a part of a daily routine. Ongoing treatment is usually necessary to prevent recurrences of symptoms.

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