Blepharitis is a common condition in which the eyelid borders become reddened and swollen. The condition can develop at any age and the usual symptoms include:
- Sore, itchy and reddened eyelids that stick together
- Swollen eyelid borders
- Burning, gritty sensation in the eyes
- Greasy or crusty eyelashes
- Increased light sensitivity
- Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
- Abnormal growth of the eyelash or loss of eyelashes in severe cases
Generally, both eyes are affected, but one eye is more affected than the other. In most cases, the symptoms are worse in the morning.
What are the types of blepharitis and their causes?
- Anterior – inflammation affects the skin surrounding the base of the eyelashes. This type can be caused by a reaction to the Staphylococcus bacteria or triggered by seborrheic dermatitis
- Posterior – inflammation involves the Meibomian glands along the eyelid margins at the back base of the eyelashes. This is usually due to an issue with the Meibomian glands where they are clogged by either debris, skin flakes or inflammation
- Mixed – this is a combination of both posterior and anterior
Blepharitis is considered as a long-lasting condition. In most cases, an individual can experience repeated episodes, separated by phases without symptoms.
The condition could not be cured, but a regular eyelid cleaning regimen can manage the symptoms and prevent lasting scarring of the eyelid margins.
The main steps in proper eyelid hygiene that must be performed 1-2 times in a day include:
- Application of a warm compress – this helps the oil produced by glands around the eyes to turn runny
- Gentle massage of the eyelids – this helps is driving out the oil from the glands
- Cleansing of the eyelids – this helps in eliminating any excess oil and get rid of any bacteria, crusts, grime or dust that has accumulated
In severe cases, antibiotics might be necessary which are either applied to the eyelid or eye directly or taken orally as tablets.