Blepharitis is uncomfortable but rarely causes serious eye damage.
Why do I get blepharitis?
There are two types of blepharitis.
Anterior blepharitis which affects the outside front edge of your eyelids (near your eyelashes). It may be caused by bacterial infection.
Posterior blepharitis, which is caused when something affects your meibomian glands (which produce part of your tears).
Another reason you may get blepharitis is as a complication of seborrhoeic dermatitis, which makes your skin inflamed or flaky. This can involve the scalp (when it is called dandruff), lashes, ears and eyebrows. Seborrhoeic dermatitis can cause both anterior and posterior blepharitis.
Who is at risk?
It is more common in people over 50, but can develop at any age. As you get older the meibomian glands in your eyelids that secrete part of your tears become blocked more easily. Your tears contain fewer lubricants and your eyes feel gritty and dry, so seborrhoeic blepharitis and meibomian blepharitis tend to happen in older people. Staphylococcal blepharitis (bacterial infection) happens in younger people.
How should I look after my eyes if I have blepharitis?
This is a condition that tends to come back even after treatment. It is possible to make your eyes more comfortable, but blepharitis often cannot be totally cured.
If you have blepharitis avoid eye make-up.
Warm compresses help by warming the material that blocks the glands and loosening the crusts on the eyelid. You can use a flannel or buy a special pack from us that warms in the microwave. Use a separate flannel for each eye, soak in warm (not boiling) water, wring out and place on closed eyes for five minutes, rocking gently with heel of your hands to loosen crusts.
Lid wipes impregnated with special solution can be used to clean the lashes night and morning. This needs doing for two weeks, decreasing to mornings only for two weeks and then two or three times a week for ever, to prevent the problem reoccurring. These can be bought at our practice.
If your eyes are dry our Optometrist will recommend an ocular lubricant.