What is blepharitis?
All About Vision defines blepharitis as “a common eyelid inflammation that sometimes is associated with a bacterial eye infection, symptoms of dry eyes or certain types of skin conditions such as acne rosacea”. There are two main forms of blepharitis, characterized by the part of the eye that they affect. These forms are anterior blepharitis and posterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis is “affecting the outside front of the eyelid where eyelashes are attached”, while posterior blepharitis is “linked to dysfunction of meibomian glands within the eyelids that secrete oils to help lubricate the eye”.
WebMD describes blepharitis as feeling as though something is stuck in your eye. Symptoms include burning, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and eyes that are red, swollen, dry, and/or crusty around the eyelashes. The eyes will feel irritated and uncomfortable.
Anterior and posterior blepharitis have several causes. Anterior blepharitis can be caused by bacteria and may require antibiotic medication. It can also be caused by certain skin conditions that lead to flakey skin or clogged follicles in the eye. Posterior blepharitis is also often caused by clogged glands in the eyes. Your eye care professional will be able to identify what is causing your blepharitis and implement the most effective treatment plan.
There is no certain cure for blepharitis. According to All About Vision, it is often a chronic condition that requires long-term management. While there may not be a cure, there are several ways to manage and treat blepharitis that can drastically improve your quality of life and comfort levels.
- Warm compress: Applying a warm compress to your eyes can help loosen crust and moisten dry eyes. Apply to affected area for several minutes at a time as needed.
- Proper eyelid hygiene: Your doctor can suggest a cleaning solution to use on your eyelids after using a warm compress. Frequent and thorough cleaning of the eyelids can relieve some blepharitis symptoms.
- Lubricating eye drops: Your eye doctor can also recommend lubricating eye drops if your blepharitis is causing problematic dryness. These drops act in conjunction with your natural tears to moisten your eyes.
- Antibiotics: In some cases, as with anterior blepharitis caused by bacteria, your eye doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat blepharitis.
If you think that you may be suffering from blepharitis, make an appointment with your eye care professional to discuss your options. While there is no one perfect cure for blepharitis, your doctor can work with you to come up with a treatment plan that can drastically improve your symptoms and comfort level.