Help for blepharitis - eyelid inflammation and irritation.
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- What is Blepharitis?
- What causes Blepharitis?
- How is Blepharitis Diagnosed?
- More Information on Blepharitis
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a chronic condition that refers to inflammation of the eyelids, and typically affects the margins of the eyelids. This is often a recurring condition associated with bacterial infections or skin disorders such as dandruff or acne rosacea. Blepharitis is not serious and symptoms may be alleviated easily. However, symptoms can cause much discomfort and it is therefore imperative that eye hygiene becomes a daily routine.
Symptoms and Signs
The symptoms and signs of blepharitis include:
- Sore, irritated eyes
- Burning sensation in the eye
- Red, swollen or inflamed eyes
- Itchy eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
- Crusted debris in the eyelashes or in the corner of the eyes or lids upon waking
- Flaky skin around the eyes
- Dryness of the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Excessive tearing
- Loss of eyelashes
- Abnormal growth of eyelashes
What causes Blepharitis?
Blepharitis can affect the outside portion of the eyelid where the eyelashes are attached – this is known as anterior blepharitis. If blepharitis affects the inner portion of the eyelid that comes into contact with the eye, it is known as posterior blepharitis.
Conditions that may cause blepharitis include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows)
- Bacterial infection
- Malfunctioning of the oil glands in the eyelid
- Acne rosacea
- Lice infestation on the eyelashes
How is Blepharitis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of blepharitis is determined after a thorough examination of the eyes and eyelids. A special magnifying instrument may be used during the examination and a sample of skin deposits may be collected to check for any bacteria. Help and treatment for people with Blepharitis tends to recur but regular treatment can relieve symptoms.
Firstly, eye hygiene is very important. Using a flannel or facecloth soaked in warm water for 5-10 minutes, gently press on the eyelids to soften the skin. Remove any crusts with warm flannel that may be attached to the eyelids. Massage the eyelids by gently rolling your first finger on the eyelids to push out mucus-like fluid from the tiny eyelid glands.
Clean the eyelids using a cotton wool bud dipped in a solution of baby shampoo or sodium bicarbonate with warm water. This routine should be repeated at least four times a day to relieve symptoms, and then once a day to prevent recurrences.
If an eyelid becomes infected, medications such as antibiotic eye ointment or drops may be prescribed. Artificial tear eye drops can help if dry eyes develop. If blepharitis is associated with skin conditions such as dandruff or acne rosacea, these conditions need to be treated first to relieve the symptoms of blepharitis.
More Information on Blepharitis
Tips to prevent blepharitis
- There are certain preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the symptoms of blepharitis and these include:
- Keep the eyelids, scalp and face clean
- Avoid rubbing your eyes when a flare-up occurs
- Eat foods such as fish, spinach, leeks and blueberries that encourage overall eye health
- Use artificial eye drops to reduce dryness and minimize the feeling of gritty eyes
- Use eye make-up specifically formulated for sensitive eyes
- Remove eye make-up thoroughly with gentle water-based eyelid cleansers after you have worn it to enable the eyelids to breathe
- Wear protective eyewear to protect eyes from UV rays when outside
- Avoid exposure to smoke and chemical fumes
- Get as much sleep as possible to prevent soreness, puffiness and fatigue
- Drink plenty of clear fluids to reduce eye dryness and allow for toxins to be flushed through
- Stop smoking – smoking irritates the eyes causing them to become sore and dehydrated