Healthy Living

What is Blepharitis?

What is Blepharitis?

Key Takeaways

  • Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids, usually affecting both of the eyelids in the part where the eyelashes grow. 
  • The inflammation of the eyelids is often a chronic medical condition, which is very hard to treat. 
  • Blepharitis is not contagious.

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids, usually affecting both of the eyelids where eyelashes grow.

The inflammation of the eyelids is often a chronic medical condition, which is very hard to treat. Blepharitis is a condition that does not affect vision. It is also not contagious.

What causes Blepharitis?

The real cause of blepharitis is not known. The inflammation of the eyelids is believed to be caused by a bacterial infection, allergies, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, eyelash mites, or lice, as well as clogged oil glands of the eyelids, and a malfunction of the oil glands of the eyelids.

Blepharitis usually occurs due to the blockage of the oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes. When these tiny little oil glands become clogged the eyelids will become irritated and the eyes will become red.

Signs and symptoms of Blepharitis

Characteristic signs and symptoms of the inflammation of the eyelids are:

  • Red and swollen eyelids
  • Flaking of the skin around the eyes
  • Formation of the crusts in the morning, which makes it difficult to open the eyes
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • A burning sensation in the eyes
  • Greasy eyelids
  • Itchy eyelids
  • Frequent blinking
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • Misdirected eyelashes
  • Sensitivity to light

How is Blepharitis diagnosed?

When the signs and symptoms get worse and when after a few days regardless of good hygiene the inflammation of the eyelids tends to get worse, making an appointment with an eye doctor is necessary.

A detailed examination of the eyelids is necessary, accompanied by an examination of the eyes, eyesight as well as a complete medical history and anamnesis.

In certain cases, your doctor will use a swab to collect samples of the oil, even the crusts that form on the eyelid for further examination. The collected samples from your eyelids are examined for a presence of bacteria, fungi or evidence of an allergy.

How is Blepharitis treated?

A good personal hygiene is very important. In the treatment of blepharitis warm compresses and washing the eyes correctly is first recommended. Sometimes just these two measures are enough for the treatment of this eyelid inflammation.

Makeup should be avoided every time when the eyelids are inflamed. It is well known that makeup will just make your condition worse, as it can’t let you keep your eyes clean as they should, it can present a good source of bacteria as well as cause an allergic reaction.

However, if this is not enough, your doctor will prescribe medications like:

  • Medications to control the inflammation – steroid eye drops, steroid ointments
  • Antibiotics – first topical antibiotics, and if necessary even oral antibiotics.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

The treatment of the underlying conditions that have causes blepharitis is also very important as it is known that blepharitis can sometimes be caused by medical conditions like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis.

Blepharitis is often a chronic inflammation of the eyelids, which is very hard to treat. It rarely disappears completely even with successful treatment.

Eyelid cancer could be also the cause of blepharitis, when you don’t respond well to the treatment, only one eye is affected or when you have lost the eyelashes.