What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is inflammation of the edges of the eyelids. They look with a crust, peeled and often red. This condition is very common.

The causes of blepharitis include:

  • bacteria, such as staphylococci or other organisms
  • dust, tobacco or other substances that cause allergies.

Sometimes the cause is unknown.

Bacteria can cause the formation of crustsand particles along the eyelashes in some people, and in some they do not. People who have dandruff or oily skin are more likely to have blepharitis.

Symptoms include:

  • irritation, itching or burning of the skin on the edge of the eyelid,
  • deposits of crusts on the edge of the eyelid that peel off,
  • red edges of the eyelids,
  • matted eyelashes, especially in the morning
  • eyelashes that fall off;

Sometimes flakes fall from your eyelids into your eyes. Then your eyes may look red andfeel irritated.

Your eye doctorwill examine your eyes using a slit lamp.

Blepharitis can be difficult to treat. In general, treatment involves careful washing of your eyelids and eyelashes. You may need to follow a certain cleaning procedure for several weeks or months. The cleaning process is as follows:

  • Moisten a cloth with warm water and hold it over both eyes for several minutes. This helps to soften any deposits on the eyelids.
  • Add a few drops of baby shampoo to a cup of water. Moisten a cotton swab with this mixture. Using the cotton swab, clean all deposits from the limits of your eyelids and eyelashes. Do not pull the crusts with your fingers. Use a different cotton swab for each eye. 

Your doctor will tell you how often you should follow the cleaning procedure.

Your doctor may prescribe ointment (with or without antibiotics) to help relieve your symptoms. After washing your eyelids and eyelashes, rub the ointment along the edges of your eyelids. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Occasionally, you may need to take antibiotics in pill form.

For some people, blepharitis may never completely subside. For others, cleansing and medications can cure the problem. Even when the symptoms disappear, regular cleaning can help prevent blepharitis from reappearing.

Similar Medical Services