Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from chronic blepharitis.
Blepharitis (pronounced blef-a-right-is) is a common eye condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the eyelid margin, where eyelashes join the eyelid. Blepharitis is normally a mild condition. If not treated, Blepharitis can worsen and may lead to further problems, including affecting your vision. This condition is quite difficult to manage because it tends to recur. It is not specific to any one group of people; it can affect children and adults, people of all ethnicities and people of either gender.
Blepharitis occurs in two forms:
This affects the outside front of the eyelid, where the eyelashes are attached. The two most common causes of anterior blepharitis are bacteria (Staphylococcus) and scalp dandruff.
This affects the inner eyelid (the moist part that makes contact with the eye) and is caused by problems with the oil (meibomian) glands in this part of the eyelid. It can develop as a result of a skin condition such as acne rosacea, which leads to red and inflamed skin, or scalp dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis).
Blepharitis is an often associated with systemic diseases, like acne rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff).
Bacteria are on the surface of everyone’s skin but, in certain individuals, they thrive in the skin at the base of the eyelashes. The resulting irritation, sometimes associated with overactivity of the nearby oil glands, causes dandruff-like scales and particles to form along the lashes and eyelid margins.
7 Possible Complication of Blepharitis
For some people, the scales or bacteria associated with blepharitis produce only minor irritation and itching but, in others, it may cause redness, stinging, or burning. Others, however, may develop an allergy to the scales or to the bacteria that surround them. This can lead to a more serious complication:
- Chalazion (meibomian cyst) – This is a painless swelling, most prominent on the inside of the eyelid. It is due to a blocked meibomian gland. Although it is painless, it may make the eyelid bulge and look a little unsightly. It can easily be treated. Sometimes a Chalazion can become infected and painful.
- Stye – This is a painful infected swelling most prominent on the outside of the eyelid. It is due to an infection of the root (follicle) of an eyelash.
- Eyelid ulceration and scarring (uncommon) – This can cause the eyelid to turn inwards against the eyeball.
- Changes to the eyelashes such as, loss of eyelashes and misdirection of eyelashes towards the eye.
- Contact lens wearers may find their lenses feel uncomfortable when they have a flare-up of blepharitis.
- Inflammation of the front of the eye (conjunctivitis). This may cause a sore, red eye with discharge or watering.
- Inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), ulceration, and scarring. This complication is rare but serious as it can affect sight. See a doctor urgently if you develop eye pain (more than the irritation/grittiness of dry eye) or any loss of vision from the affected eye.
- Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD Dry Eye). People suffering from chronic blepharitis often have MGD Dry Eye as well. MDG Dry Eye affects the quality of the tear film. MGD Dry Eye is often accompanied by discomfort and the loss of optimum vision.
Other associated factors may include:
- Bacterial overpopulation and Demodex infestation often result in inflammation of your eyelids.
- Lack of lid and lash hygiene
- Abnormal tear film caused by abnormal or decreased oil secretions from meibomian glands
- Skin condition such as eczema
- Sensitivity to allergic reaction like asthma
- Poor diet (low in essential fatty acids or anti-inflammatory foods)
16 Symptoms of Blepharitis
The most common symptoms of blepharitis include:
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Red/swollen eyelids
- Crusting at the eyelid margins/base of the eyelashes, generally worse on waking
- Eyelid sticking
- Eyelid itching
- Flaking of skin on eyelids
- Gritty/burning sensation in the eye, or foreign-body sensation
- Blurry vision
- Eyelids appear greasy
- Frequent blinking
- Light sensitivity/photophobia
- Misdirected eyelashes that grow abnormally
- Eyelash loss
- Infection of the eyelash follicle/sebaceous gland
- Debris in the tear film, seen under magnification
Blepharitis Symptom Manager Number 1
Self-care and awareness is the utmost factor in managing blepharitis. Over-the-counter baby shampoo and tea tree oil are used by many usually as the first course of treatment. While these may provide relief for a short period of time, they are not effective long term or in severe cases.
by Christine W. Sindt, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Avenova®, a prescription formulation that contains the proprietary ingredient, Neutrox®, can be used as part of any eyelid and lash hygiene regimen. It may be used for any length of time and will not burn or sting.
2 Weeks to Relief
By using Avenova twice daily, patients have experienced relief from some of the symptoms in just two weeks. Contact your doctor to learn more about Avenova, or watch the instructional video to see how easy it is to apply Avenova.