Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelids causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder caused by either bacteria or a skin condition such as acne rosacea. It affects people of all ages. Although uncomfortable, Blepharitis is not contagious and generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight.
Individuals with Blepharitis may experience a gritty or burning sensation in their eyes, excessive tearing, itching, red and swollen eyelids, dry eyes, or crusting of the eyelids. For some people, Blepharitis causes only minor irritation and itching. However, it can lead to more severe signs and symptoms such as blurring of vision, missing or misdirected eyelashes, and inflammation of other eye tissue, particularly the cornea.
In many cases, good eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine can control Blepharitis. This includes frequent scalp and face washing, using warm compresses to soak the eyelids, and doing eyelid scrubs. In cases where a bacterial infection is the cause, various antibiotics and other medications may be prescribed along with eyelid hygiene.
Anterior Blepharitis is commonly caused by bacteria (Staphylococcal Blepharits) or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (Seborrheic Blepharitis). It may also occur due to a combination of factors, or less commonly may be the result of allergies or an infestation of the eyelashes by a mite called Demodex.
Posterior Blepharitis can be caused by irregular oil production by the glands of the eyelids (Meibomian Blepharitis) which create a favorable environment for bacterial growth. It can also develop as a result of other skin conditions such as acne rosacea and scalp dandruff. Posterior Blepharitis, also known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, is a primary cause of Dry Eye Disease. Meibomian Gland Dysfunction can also be responsible for the formation of Chalazions, or styes.
The key to treating most types of Blepharitis is keeping the lids clean and free of crusts.
Warm compresses can be applied to loosen the crusts, followed by gentle scrubbing of the eyes with a mixture of water and an over-the-counter lid cleansing product. In cases involving bacterial infection, an antibiotic may also be prescribed.
If the glands in the eyelids are blocked, the eyelids may need to be massaged to clean out oil accumulated in the eyelid glands.
Artificial tears or lubricating ointments may be prescribed in some cases.
Use of an anti-dandruff shampoo on the scalp can help.
Demodex infestation is treated using a tea tree oil extract to clean the lashes, eyebrows, and skin of the eyelids.
Some cases of Blepharitis may require more complex treatment plans, including in-office cleaning using the BlephEx instrument. Blepharitis seldom disappears completely. Even with successful treatment, relapses may occur.
Blepharitis treatment instructions:
Warm compresses- After washing both hands, wet a clean washcloth with warm water, ring it out, then apply it to the closed eyelids for at least one minute. Rewet the cloth with warm water as necessary and repeat the application to the lids two to three times. The compress will serve to loosen debris and scales from the eyelids.
Lid scrubs- Wash both hands. Use the commercially available lid cleaning solution recommended by the doctor by dispensing the foam onto the fingertips and gently scrubbing the eyelashes and eyelid margins of one's closed eyes for 15-30 seconds per eyelid. Rinse the cleaning solution away.
Cliradex lid scrubs are used to treat Demodex mite infestation. To use Cliradex pads correctly, first clean the face and wash the hands. Open the packet containing the moistened towelette and unfold the towelette completely. Close both eyes tightly without squinting. Apply the towelette to the eyelid and surrounding facial area with a side to side motion. Avoid too much pressure. Keep the eye closed for at least one minute to allow for air-drying. Do not wash off the dried formulation. Flip the towelette over and repeat for the other eye. If Cliradex gets in the eye, rinse the eye with water or saline. Cliradex may cause a cool, refreshing, menthol sensation. This is normal and should dissipate within a few minutes.