Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes. It affects people of all ages. Although it may cause discomfort, blepharitis is not contagious and generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight.
Blepharitis is classified into two types:
In many cases, individuals can have elements of both types of blepharitis.
Symptoms of blepharitis include:
Treatment depends on the type of blepharitis. The key to treating most types of blepharitis is keeping the lids clean and free of crusts.
Wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out, and place it over your closed eyelids for at least one minute. Repeat two or three times, rewetting the washcloth as it cools. This will loosen scales and debris around your eyelashes. It also helps break down oil from nearby oil glands.
Eyelid scrubs can be used to massage and clean accumulated oil from the surface of the eyelids. There are a number of ways to perform lid scrubs:
The drops may be suggested by your doctor to help relieve the dryness that often accompanies blepharitis.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe an antibiotic ointment, drops or pills. Sometimes antibiotic drops may be combined with steroid drops for temporary use to relieve inflammation.
Research suggests that a lack of certain nutrients may contribute to posterior blepharitis. An imbalance of omega fatty acids has been found to cause abnormal secretions of the oil glands that help lubricate your eyes. Ask your ophthalmologist about a proper diet and nutritional supplements to help treat this imbalance.