Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. If you suffer from blepharitis, you may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Watery eyes
- Eyes are red
- Sensations in the eye of grittiness and burning
- Eyelids look greasy
- Itchy eyelids
- Swollen, red eyelids
- Skin around the eyes is flaking
- Crusted eyelashes
- Light sensitivity
- Eyelashes that grow abnormally
- Eyelash loss
Blepharitis may also lead to burning, soreness or stinging in the eyes. In severe cases, eyelashes may fall out and some patients may develop small ulcers or styes. Symptoms of blepharitis tend to be worse in the morning and when you wake up you may find your lids are stuck together.
Blepharitis is a chronic (long-term) condition. This means that once you have had it, it can come back even after it has cleared up. It normally affects both eyes at the same time.
Blepharitis occurs when the minuscule oil glands adjoining the base of the eyelashes stop functioning normally. Conditions that may cause blepharitis include:
- Bacterial infections
- Dandruff affecting the eyebrows or scalp – known as seborrheic dermatitis
- Rosacea – a condition of the skin categorized by redness in the face
- Oil glands in the eyelids that malfunction
- Eyelash mites
- Allergies such as reactions to eye drugs, contact lens solutions or makeup for the eye
Blepharitis can be treated by:
Regularly cleaning the area that is affected: Symptoms and signs of blepharitis can be treated by cleaning the eyelids with a washcloth that is warm and damp.
Antibiotics: Antibiotic eyedrops can be applied to the eyelids and help to control any infection by bacteria. In some cases, antibiotics can also be available in ointment, cream or oral pill form.
Steroid ointments or eyedrops: Steroid products can help with controlling the inflammation in the eye or the eyelids.
Artificial tears: Over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can aid in relieving dry eyes.