Blepharitis is kind of inflammation that further affects the eyelids. Blepharitis generally involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow.
Blepharitis commonly happens when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes malfunction. This leads to inflamed, irritated and itchy eyelids. There are most of the diseases and conditions present that can cause blepharitis.
Sometimes, blepharitis is a chronic condition that is very difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and may be unattractive at times, but it generally doesn't cause permanent damage to your eye sight.
Causes of Blepharitis
The exact cause of blepharitis is still not known. Factors linked with the development of blepharitis include:
- Seborrheic dermatitis — dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows
- A bacterial infection
- Malfunctioning oil glands in your eyelid
- Rosacea — a skin condition which is characterized by facial redness
- Eyelash mites or lice
- Certain medication — the severe acne medication isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret) can lead to an increase in bacteria on the eyelids and can affect tear production
Blepharitis can be caused by a combination of factors.
If you are having blepharitis, you may also experience:
- Eyelash problems - Blepharitis can cause your eyelashes to fall out or grow abnormally (misdirected eyelashes).
- Eyelid skin problems - Scarring can happen on your eyelids in response to long-term blepharitis.
- Excess tearing or dry eyes - Abnormal oily secretions and other debris shed from the eyelid, such as flaking associated with dandruff, can accumulate in your tear film —water, oil and mucus solution that forms tears.
- Sty - A sty is an infection that is formed near the base of the eyelashes. The result is a painful lump on the edge (generally on the outside part) of your eyelid. A sty is usually most visible on the surface of the eyelid.
- Chalazion - A chalazion is occurred when there's a blockage in one of the small oil glands at the margin of the eyelid, just behind the eyelashes.
- Chronic pink eye - Blepharitis can lead to recurrent bouts of pink eye (conjunctivitis).
- Injury to the cornea – Regular irritation from inflamed eyelids or misdirected eyelashes may cause a sore (ulcer) to develop on your cornea. Insufficient tearing could predispose you to a corneal infection.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
Blepharitis symptoms and signs include:
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- A gritty, burning sensation in the eye
- Eyelids that appear greasy
- Itchy eyelids
- Red, swollen eyelids
- Flaking of the skin around the eyes
- Crusted eyelashes upon awakening
- Eyelid sticking
- More frequent blinking
- Sensitivity to light
- Eyelashes that grow abnormally (misdirected eyelashes)
- Loss of eyelashes
Treatment for blepharitis can include:
- Cleaning the affected area regularly - Cleaning your eyelids with a warm washcloth can help control signs and symptoms. Self-care measures may be the only treatment necessary for most cases of blepharitis.
- Antibiotics – Eye drops containing antibiotics applied to your eyelids may help control blepharitis caused by a bacterial infection. In certain cases, antibiotics are administered in cream, ointment or pill form.
- Steroid eye drops or ointments – Eye drops or ointments containing steroids can help control inflammation in your eyes and your eyelids.
- Artificial tears - Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears, which are available over-the-counter, may help relieve dry eyes.
- Treating underlying conditions - Blepharitis caused by seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea or other diseases may be controlled by treating the underlying disease.
Blepharitis rarely disappears completely. Even with successful treatment, relapses are common.