What is Blepharitis?

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Blepharitis is a common and chronic inflammation of the eyelids. The exact cause is unknown but there is a disturbance of the oil production system in the eyelids. Allergies, toxins, bacterial and viral infections can lead to its development. It can be familial and is often related to acne rosacea.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms include redness, burning and itching of the eyelid margins. The eyes feel irritated and gritty. The lashes may have scales and flakes at the bases and the eyelids may be sticky and crusty in the morning. This can lead to plugging of the eyelid glands which in turn leads to styes, chalazia, dry eye syndrome, corneal inflammation and eyelash loss.
There is no permanent cure but treatment and regular cleaning can greatly improve symptoms.

What is the treatment?

Treatment involves daily eyelid hygiene which includes warm compresses, using a warm wet cloth to the eyes for five minutes, to soften and loosen crusts, cleaning of the eyelid margin and lashes with diluted baby shampoo on a Q-tip or by scrubbing with a thin washcloth wrapped around your finger, or using commercially available towelettes ,such as “Lid-care”. Antibiotic ointment may be required. Ocular lubricants, such as Refresh, Genteal,or Systaine drops may also help relieve irritation. Daily treatment may be required for a couple of months until the symptoms improve then less frequent maintenance treatment must be continued to keep the condition under control. In advanced cases, topical antibiotic drops or ointment may be prescribed. Occasionally oral antibiotic treatment may be necessary. Contact lens wear may be limited or, in some cases, even contraindicated in this condition.