What is Blepharitis?
Having an inflamed eyelid isn’t unusual. It may feel as if you have a piece of sand in your eye or your eyelashes could be crusty in the morning when you awake. Just about everyone has this kind of inflammation at one time or another. To the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, we call it blepharitis. Here’s some information about this inflammation and what you can do about it.
What are The Different Types of Blepharitis?
- Seborrhea blepharitis — This is the most common form of eyelid inflammation. It isn’t due to an infection but is caused by improper function of the oil glands that lubricate the eyes. This causes greasy, waxy scales to accumulate along the eyelid margins. Nutrition, hormones, stress, and your physical condition are factors in seborrhea blepharitis.
- Ulcerative blepharitis — This form is less common, but is more severe. Matted hard crusts form around the eyelashes, but when they are removed, they leave small sores that then bleed or ooze. There can also be chronic tearing and loss of the eyelashes.
- Staphylococcus blepharitis — This form is caused by the Staphylococci bacteria. This form of blepharitis results in collar scales on the lashes, crusting, and chronic redness at the lid margin. It may also cause sties, chalazia, the loss of the eyelashes, and dilated blood vessels.
Signs and Symptoms of Blepharitis
- Itchy, burning, watery eyes
- Blurred vision
- Crusted eyes when you first wake
- Dry eyes
- Eyelashes that grow at different angles
- Greasy eyelids
- Itchy eyes
- Red eyelids
- Frequent sty formation
- Scaly flakes along the eyelid margins
What complications can result from Blepharitis?
It is important to see an eye doctor if symptoms of blepharitis persist. Treatment is simple and painless and can prevent the development of other conditions. Some of the problems that could result from untreated blepharitis include:
- Conjunctivitis. Known as pink eye, this bacterial infection of the conjunctiva can be very contagious. Symptoms include moderate to severe eye irritation, redness, and a thick secretion from the eyes.
- Trichiasis. If blepharitis is untreated and becomes a chronic problem, it could lead to an abnormality of the eyelid in which the eyelashes begin to grow inward toward the eyeball. This condition could scratch the cornea and potentially damage this important structure.
- Styes. When the roots of the eyelashes harbor bacteria and infection, a stye may form. This pus-filled cyst can be seen on the outer eyelid and may be quite painful.
What happens if my Blepharitis goes untreated?
Blepharitis needs to be treated to prevent worsening to the above mentioned complications such as conjunctivitis or chronic dry eye syndrome. If the symptoms of blepharitis persist or recur frequently, it is important to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. It is not difficult to diagnose blepharitis without the need for complicated tests. We can usually diagnose this condition based on symptoms and observation of the eyelid. To resolve persistent eye irritation, contact Central Valley Eye for a full consultation and examination.
Are there any risks involved with Blepharitis treatment?
The treatments that we administer to reduce the symptoms of blepharitis are considered safe and effective for most patients. Before showing patients how to clean their eyelash area using warm compresses, we perform a thorough examination of the eyes to determine the extent of blepharitis and its potential cause. If antibiotics are needed to fully eradicate bacteria, there may be a slight risk of stomach upset for some patients.
Who is a Candidate for Blepharitis Treatment?
Anyone who has persistent or recurring symptoms such as a gritty or foreign body sensation, blurry vision, dry eyes, burning, stinging, or watering, should see an ophthalmologist for a full eye exam. This eye specialist can diagnose blepharitis by observing the eyelid area and evaluating the tear film.
There are two types of blepharitis, anterior and posterior. Anterior blepharitis is the condition in which symptoms stem from inflammation affecting the outer part of the eyelid near the base of the eyelashes. Microscopic mites, viruses, and bacteria are common causes of anterior blepharitis. This condition can often be treated with thorough, gentle cleaning of the eyelid around the eyelashes. In some cases, medication may be needed to eradicate bacteria. Posterior blepharitis affects the inner area of the eyelid where this tissue meets the eyeball. It is often related to meibomian gland dysfunction that affects tear production.
How is Blepharitis Treated?
At Central Valley Eye Medical Group, we’ll show you how to clean your eyelashes, as this is usually the most effective way to control your blepharitis. A very warm washcloth applied to the eyelids until it cools one important cleaning method. You can also lightly scrub your eyelids with a washcloth moistened with warm water and wrapped around your finger.
Prescription Medication for Blepharitis
If your blepharitis is more involved, we may prescribe eye drops or ointment. In some cases, oral medication (usually antibiotics) may be prescribed to alter the oil composition of the eyelid oil glands.
What is recovery like after Blepharitis treatment?
Patients do not need to schedule time off to recover from blepharitis treatment. In most cases, the eyes feel soothed after warm compresses are used to clean debris and bacteria away from the lash line.
Can I prevent my Blepharitis from flaring up in the future?
People who are prone to blepharitis can reduce their chances of periodic flare ups by practicing strict eye hygiene. Flare ups may be reduced by washing hands several times a day and being careful not to touch the eye area without washing the hands first. Patients should wash makeup off daily using clean towels and gentle soap. Warm compresses may be applied to the eyes regularly, as well, to help loosen debris around the eyelashes.
Schedule a Consultation
Do you have the symptoms of blepharitis? Call Central Valley Eye Medical Group at (800) 244-9907 for a consultation, or click here to send us an Appointment Request Form. Our knowledgeable doctors can take a look at your condition and help you determine the best step forward.
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