WHAT IS BLEPHARITIS?
WHAT IS BLEPHARITIS?
Author: Dr. Leigh Plowman (Optometrist)
What Is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis (‘blef-ar-itis’) is a chronic condition wherein the eyelids become inflamed. While it’s uncomfortable to live with, it’s not infectious.
But blepharitis does require ongoing care to manage it successfully.
In this article, we’re going to find out more about blepharitis, including its signs, symptoms, and causes, and discuss how it can be treated. Read on to discover all you need to know about this eye condition.
What Are Symptoms Of Blepharitis?
One of the defining features of blepharitis is that the symptoms are often worse in the morning or late in the evening.
- Red Eyes
- Watering eyes
- A felling of burning or grittiness in the eyes
- Sore, itchy, swollen or red eyelids
- Flaky skin around the eyes
- Crusty eyelashes
- Eyelids sticking together
- The urge to blink more frequently
- Blurry vision that gets better by blinking
- Light sensitivity
What Are Complications From Blepharitis?
Unfortunately, blepharitis can sometimes lead to other uncomfortable eye conditions.
- Eyelash issues where your eyelashes shed, grow in the wrong direction, or lose their color
- Scarring of the eyelid skin or your eyelid edges turning inward or outward
- Problems with your tear film, which can cause either dry eyes or excess tearing
- Styes, an infection near the base of the eyelashes, resulting in a tender lump at the edge of the eyelid
- Chalazion, which occurs when an oil gland on the eyelid gets blocked and the gland swells
- Conjunctivitis, which is inflammation of the clear layer on top of the white part of the eye
- Corneal injury as a result of irritation from sore eyelids or abnormal eyelashes. It can also be caused by a lack of tears.
What Are Types Of Blepharitis And Their Causes?
There are two different types of blepharitis. You can have one type or both at the same time.
Anterior blepharitis affects the outside area of your eye where your eyelashes meet your eyelid. It is generally caused by bacteria on your skin or dandruff from your eyebrows or scalp. Eyelash mites such as Demodex can cause anterior blepharitis.
In posterior blepharitis, the edge of the eyelid that touches your eye is involved. This happens when the oil glands in your eyelids get blocked. Rosacea (a skin condition that causes red skin, visible blood vessels, and pimples) can cause this type of blepharitis.
If you already suffer from dry eyes, you will be more at risk of blepharitis. And if you have an eye infection, this may also trigger the condition.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Blepharitis?
If you think you are affected by blepharitis, it’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible. They can give you an accurate diagnosis by examining your eyes. They may also swab the skin on and around your eyelid to check for fungi or bacteria or see if you have an allergy.
Who Is More at Risk of Blepharitis?
If you have any of the following, you will be at higher risk of developing blepharitis:
- Dandruff (flaky skin on your face or scalp)
- Oily skin
- Allergies that make your eyelashes uncomfortable
What Treatments Are Available For Blepharitis?
The first line of treatment is usually self-care. This involves gently cleaning your eyes, eyelids, and surrounding area every day to get rid of any crust or debris.
Hypochlorous acid, such as Avenova Antimicrobial Spray, helps to kill bacteria on the outside of the eyelids. Hypochlorous acid is naturally occurring- our own white blood cells produce it. On the eyelids, it helps reduce the overgrowth of staphylococcal bacteria. Avenova feels refreshing and helps to relieve blepharitis.
Applying a warm eye compress can also help to allow the oil in the glands around your eyelids to drain away more efficiently, reducing symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics or steroid medication in the form of eye drops or cream to apply to the eyelid. They may give you an immunosuppressant drug called cyclosporine, which helps stimulate tear production.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a procedure to unclog your oil gland ducts. This ensures that more tears stay in your eyes to lubricate them.
If your blepharitis is caused by other conditions such as rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, or others, your doctor will treat those.
If you normally wear eye makeup, you could try taking a break from wearing it to see if your symptoms improve. If you do start wearing it again, be sure to replace it with new products.
How Do I Clean My Eyes to Manage My Blepharitis?
Setting up a regular self-care routine is your first step to managing blepharitis. This is what you should do two to four times a day when your blepharitis is most active, then once or twice a day when you have it under control.
- Wash your hands
- Place a warm compress gently over your closed eyes for five to ten minutes to loosen any debris.
- Remove the compress
- Spray one to two sprays of Avenova on a closed eye. I recommend spraying the eyebrows, eyelids and lashes. Wait for twenty seconds. Gently wipe off with a NovaWipe, cotton round or clean towel.
- If your doctor has prescribed you a cream as part of your treatment program, now is a good time to apply it.
Managing Blepharitis For A Lifetime Of Healthy Eyes
Untreated blepharitis is an uncomfortable condition that can affect your quality of life. But the good news is, with diligent self-care and medication prescribed by your doctor if needed, you can usually manage it successfully.
Because of the complications that blepharitis can cause, it’s advisable to keep up with any treatment regime recommended by your doctor to ensure that your eyes are in good condition and feel comfortable.
You’ve already taken the first step to managing your blepharitis by reading this article. Be sure to consult your doctor if you recognize any of the signs or symptoms and get started on a treatment plan to manage it as soon as you can for a lifetime of healthy eyes.
Dr. Plowman believes that no-one should suffer alone with dry eyes. Learn more about dry eyes and causes at dryeyedirectory.com.
Learn more about Hypochlorous Acid and Avenova