Blepharitis is the chronic inflammation, or infection, of the eyelids and the eyelash follicles along the edge of the eyelid.
Blepharitis commonly occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged. This leads to irritated and red eyes. Several diseases and conditions can cause blepharitis.
Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and may be unsightly. But it usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyesight, and it’s not contagious.
Blepharitis symptoms and signs include:
- Swollen eyes and eyelids
- Flaking of the skin around the eyes
- Frequent tearing of the eyes
- Itchy eyelids
- Burning of the eyes
- Misdirected eyelashes
- Loss of eyelashes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
The exact cause of blepharitis is not clear. It may be associated with one or more factors, including:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Bacterial infection
- Allergic reaction
- Eyelash mites or lice
The doctor will be able to diagnose blepharitis after a thorough examination of your eyes. Some of the items examined include:
- Examining the eye
- Evaluating the margins of the eye, the eyelashes and the oil glands
- Reviewing the medical history of the patient
- Testing eye pressure
There is no cure for blepharitis. There is a tendency for the condition to recur making it difficult to treat. It can be controlled with proper hygiene of the eyelids. Treatment and preventative care for blepharitis involves a thorough but gentle cleaning of the eyelids, face and scalp. Warm compresses can be applied to loosen crust and a lid cleansing treatment can help keep the eyelids clean. This treatment may be combined with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is determined to be the cause of the condition.