Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids, typically at the spot where the eyelashes grow. This condition develops when the tiny oil glands near the base of the lashes become clogged, leading to redness and irritation. Blepharitis can affect both of the eyelids. It is not contagious, but it is an uncomfortable chronic condition that can be difficult to treat.
The exact causes of blepharitis are unclear, but the condition can be affected by dermatitis, rosacea, allergies, eyelash mites, and bacterial infections.
What are the symptoms of blepharitis?
Symptoms of blepharitis include more frequent blinking, watery and red eyes, itching, loss of lashes, and a burning or stinging sensation. It is also possible to develop a greasy appearance at the site of the inflammation, or a sty. Constant, untreated irritation can lead to cornea damage.
How is blepharitis treated?
It is most important to clean your eyes daily. Try applying a warm, clean washcloth to the area for up to five minutes and then rinsing your eye with warm water. You can also try gently cleaning the area with baby shampoo and a clean cloth.
If the area does not improve with regular cleaning, you may need to see a doctor. A physical examination and swabbing may be utilized for your diagnosis. Your eye doctor might recommend certain medications for inflammation or infection. Treating an underlying condition might also be necessary. For example, if rosacea or dermatitis is contributing to blepharitis, the rosacea or dermatitis will need to be treated first to see results.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that could potentially irritate your eye further, such as contact lenses or eye makeup. Your eye doctor can give you specific tips for treating the inflammation and finding a method of cleaning the area that is best for you.