Blepharitis

Blepharitis

What is Blepharitis?

It is inflammation of the edges of the eyelids. There are normally glands that produce thin oil to lubricate the eye. With time and age, this oil becomes thick and deposits on the eyelashes. The secretions cake on the lashes and causes bacteria to flourish. The bacteria then makes things worse by reinfecting the eye.

It usually affects both eyes and is difficult to get rid of completely. But is quite controllable with simple measures.

Symptoms

  • Gritty eyes
  • Sore and red eyes
  • Recurrent cysts and styes
  • Dryness of the eyes

What is the treatment?

The only effective treatment is by cleaning the eyelid edges.

Add 1-2 drops of baby shampoo to a small cup of warm water. Dip a cotton-wool bud into the water and gently but firmly scrub along the edges of your eyelids to remove any crusts, debris and excess oily secretions. This should not sting or damage your eyes. Alternatively, you can purchase special eyelid wipes from the chemist.

Clean your eyelids at least daily for the first week or two. When they improve, cleaning every second day may be enough. Inflammation often returns if the treatment is stopped. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but the aim of the treatment is keep it under control.

Dry Eyes

The purpose of the oil secretion is to stop the quick evaporation of tears from the eye. The fact that the oil no longer flows into the eye means that the eyes will dry out very quickly. Dry eyes often accompanies this condition and need to be treated accordingly. Artificial tears are necessary during the day. These can be instilled as often as necessary to stop the symptoms. If you have problems of grittiness early in the morning, then you may need ointment into your eyes at night just before bedtime.

What happens next!

If your blepharitis is severe, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or steroid ointment to put on your eyelids. In very severe cases, a prolonged course of tetracycline tablets may be necessary.

Good eyelid hygiene is essential and artificial tears may help reduce symptoms. It is best to avoid wearing make-up if applicable.

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