Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids with symptoms of itching, irritation and, sometimes, a red eye. This is a common condition and occurs more often in people who have oily skin, dandruff or dry eyes. Sometimes, blepharitis begins in childhood and continues to be a chronic condition.
Both the upper and lower eyelids can become coated with oily debris and bacteria causing dandruff-like particles to form along the lashes and lid margins. Sometimes this produces little to no irritation, but other times, patients may experience redness, burning, and itching.
Although blepharitis can NOT be cured, it can be controlled with the following treatments:
- Warm compresses
Wet a clean washcloth with very warm water, wring it out and place it over the closed eyelid. Be sure to keep the washcloth warm by rewetting as it cools. Keep the warm compresses on the eyelids for about five minutes. This will help loosen the debris and liquefy the oily secretions from the lid's oil glands which may help prevent a chalazion (an inflammation in the lid's oil gland).
- Lid scrubs
Using a thin washcloth or cotton swab, gently scrub the base of the lashes with no-tears baby shampoo.
If the doctor prescribes an antibiotic ointment, apply a very small amount to the base of the lashes using a clean cotton swab.
Continuous daily hygienic measures will minimize the need for other medications such as steroid and antibiotic use. Medications alone are not sufficient. Using warm soaks and keeping the lids clean is the key controlling blepharitis.