Blepharitis

Blepharitis (pronounced
blef-a-right-is) is a common inflammation of the eyelids. It occurs more frequently in older people.

There are two main types of blepharitis:

Anterior blepharitis:
This affects the base of the eye lashes with a dandruff-like condition. It is
due to a low grade staphylococcal (bacterial) infection in the eyelids.

Posterior blepharitis:
This is due to an overaction of the meibomian (sebaceous) glands
that can become blocked, inflamed
and infected.

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What are the symptoms of blepharitis?

Classic symptoms

  • Eye_1_Itching-01Itching
  • Eye_2_Crusting-02Crusting of the eyelash on awakening
  • Eye_3_ForeignBody-01-03Foreign body or burning sensation
  • Eye_4_RedSwollen-04Red & swollen eyelids

Other symptoms include

  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Flaky skin on the eyelids
  • Cysts at the lid margin
  • Frothy tears
  • Dry eye

What is the treatment for blepharitis?

The single most important treatment principle of blepharitis patients is a daily routine of lid margin hygiene. Blepharitis and other eyelid disorders can be exacerbated by poor eyelid hygiene. Treatment for both forms of blepharitis involves keeping the lids clean and free of crusts.

Warm compresses should be applied to the lid to loosen the crusts, followed by a light scrubbing of the eyelid with a cotton swab and an eyelid cleanser such as Ilast Hydraclean. Because blepharitis rarely goes away completely, most patients must maintain an eyelid hygiene routine for life. This can be achieved with a cream product such as Ilast Care or Steriblef Foam.

If the blepharitis is severe, an eye care professional may also prescribe antibiotics or steroid eye drops. In addition to the warm compresses, patients with posterior blepharitis will need to massage their eyelids to clean the oil accumulated in the glands. Patients who also have acne rosacea should have that condition treated at the same time.

Are there any other treatments for blepharitis?

Ointments for the lids: Chloramphenicol ointment is used at night, for a few months to treat low-grade infections with the staphylococcus bacteria.

If the lids are very inflamed then a short course of Betnesol (steroid) ointment is given to settle the inflammation.

Both these ointments are applied with a cotton bud, and rubbed into the base of
the eyelashes.

Drops for the eye: To help soothe ocular irritation during the day, artificial tear drops such as Oftaox™ are prescribed to be used whenever the eyes feel dry.