What Is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a very common chronic eye condition characterized by inflammation of the eyelids.
Patients with blepharitis often present with symptoms of chronic eye irritation such as:
- Red eyes
- Gritty sensation
- Burning sensation
- Excessive tearing
- Itchy eyelids
- Red, swollen eyelids
- Crusting or matting of eyelashes in the morning
- Flaking or scaling of the eyelid skin
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
Associated Ocular Conditions
Conditions such as chalazion, dry eye, contact lens intolerance, acute hordeolum (stye) may occur in association with blepharitis.
What Causes Blepharitis?
For some people an overgrowth of the bacteria that are normally found on the skin can cause inflammation and scaling at the base of the eyelashes to occur. Sometimes blepharitis is related to skin conditions like acne rosacea or seborrhea.
Types of Blepharitis
There are different types of blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis is typically seen as flaking and inflammation at the base of the lashes. Posterior blepharitis is characterized by inflammation of the oil glands just behind the eyelashes called the Meibomian glands.
The Meibomian glands are responsible for making the outermost oily later of the tear film. If these glands are not functioning properly, the tear film will evaporate more quickly and symptoms will occur. Often blepharitis is seen along with dry eye. Anterior and posterior blepharitis may occur together as well.
Blepharitis is a chronic condition that requires a long term commitment to treat with the goal of alleviating acute exacerbations and developing a maintenance regimen that reduces or minimizes symptoms and exacerbations when possible.
Good lid hygiene is the mainstay of treatment with a special warm compress routine. Topical eye drops and/or ointment may also be prescribed by your physician. Certain oral antibiotics may be utilized to reduce the ocular inflammation, particularly in patients with associated skin conditions such as acne rosacea. Other treatments may be recommended by your physician as well.