Blepharitis is simply an inflammation of the outer edges of the eyelids where the eyelashes originate. It is a common condition that may never totally go away, but it can be controlled by treatment.
What are the symptoms?
Crusts form on the eyelid margins and are continually flaking off. It can be irritating especially if the crust falls into your eyes, causing a foreign body sensation. The eyes may itch or look bloodshot and the edges of your eyelids may stay red much of the time, making it look as if you have been crying.
What causes Blepharitis?
Blepharitis can be caused by a number of infectious organisms, though in most cases it is related to seborrhea, a common condition of the skin and hair known as dandruff. Rubbing your eyes could add to the likelihood of lid infections. Blepharitis can cause instability of the tear film which can lead to symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In this situation, people often notice that their vision blurs intermittently while reading or doing work on the computer.
What are the treatment options?
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- While looking in the mirror, moisten a cotton swab (Q-Tip) with warm tap water (adding a few drops of baby shampoo if prescribed) and gently “tease” and clean all the crusts from the edge of your eyelids and the eyelashes. Do not pull the crusts off with your fingers, as this increases the risk of infection.
- When all the crusts are cleaned off:
- Put 2 drops of your prescribed medication into each eye. Do not wipe away the excess that runs out, but use another swab to rub it into the edge of the lid and eyelashes. Don’t wash it off.
- If an ointment medication was prescribed, rub a thin layer into the eyelid margin with a cotton swab at night before going to bed. Repeat this procedure 2 or 3 times a day for 7 to 10 days.