Blepharitis is a condition characterized by swelling and congestion of the edge of the eyelid caused by many different factors. In the course of blepharitis a chronic inflammation of the eyelid occurs: eye redness, swelling, itching of the eye. Blepharitis is present when tiny oil glands near the base of the eye lashes don’t function properly. Blepharitis is not conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”, although the two may occur at the same time and display similar symptoms.
A diagnosis of blepharitis can be made during a complete eye exam. Observation of the condition of the eyelid and eyelash line should be enough to make a diagnosis.
The cause of blepharitis differs by type and by whether it affects the outside or the underside of the eyelids.
- Anterior blepharitis affects the outer part of the front of the eyelids, where a bacterial disease is involved.
- Posterior Blepharitis refers to blepharitis of the eyelid at the point where it comes in contact with the eyeball. Usually there is a problem with the glands near the base of the eyelashes.
- Staphylococcal Blepharitisis caused by the bacteria Stapholococcal growing along the eyelash line.
- DemodexBletharitis is frequently associated with mite-harboring cylindrical dandruff in eyelashes. Mites and their waste can clog the roots of the hair follicles which can cause an infection in some people. A different kind of demote mite can cause posterior blepharitis when the mites enter the oil glands of the eye.
- Seborrheic Blepharitis is caused by seborrheic dermatitis, which is a skin condition characterized by flaking and scaling of the skin. This type of blepharitis is seen more frequently in older patients.
- Posterior Blepharitis:
- MeibomianBlepharitis affects the oil glands (Meibomian glands), which are set behind the eyelashes and are responsible for giving the skin around the eyes a healthy lubrication. MeibomianBletharitis occurs when these glands don’t function properly.
- Rosacea Blepharitis is associated with the dysfunction of the Meibomian glands, which results in inflammation of the eyelids.
Onset and treatment
In most cases warm compresses can help with the symptoms of blepharitis. Soaking a washcloth with warm water and leaving it across the eyelids for a couple of minutes can loosen any crustiness and loosen any debris that cause clogging in the oil glands. However, each kind of blepharitis has its own set of symptoms and treatment.
-Staphylococcal blepharitis – Symptoms that a patient may experience are a sensation of a foreign body in the eye, matted eyelashes, also a ring can be seen around the shaft of the eyelash. Treatments include a short course of steroids, a four to six week antibiotics course and fluidic acid. If staphylococcal blepharitis is left untreated, serious complications may occur.
DemodexBlepharitis–Symptoms are a foreign sensation in the eye, dandruff flakes at the base of the eyelash, itching and redness. DemotexBlepharitis is treated with an anti-parasitic ointment, a tea tree scrub and massage applied along the lash line.
- Seborrheic Blepharitis – Symptoms are: itching, burning, redness and flaking along the lash line. Common treatments of this type of blepharitis are applying warm compresses and antibiotic eye drops on the lash line. However, treatment may depend on the type of seborrheic dermatitis that is causing blepharitis.
- MeibomianBlepharitis – Symptoms are itching, stickiness and crustiness of the eyelids in the morning, as well as burning, redness and a sensation of a foreign body in the eye. Treatment includes medicine to increase natural oil production in the meibomian glands and increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as eye hygiene, eye drops and heat.
- Rosacea Blepharitis – Symptoms include itching, burning, redness, scaling or crusting of the eyelid and irritation. Most common treatments are: eye hygiene, eye drops, artificial tears, heat and increased hydration by drinking more water daily.