What’s Making Your Eyelids So Crusty?
Our eyelids have intricate functionality, and their thin skin can create issues with drooping and sagging. In this month’s first blog we discussed a problem with the eyelids when they turn outward, ectropion.
But there’s a much more common problem that happens with the eyelids, and it happens to every one of us at some time or another — blepharitis.
Blepharitis simply is a clinical term for eyelid inflammation. While everyone gets it sometimes, others get much more often. Fortunately, treating blepharitis at Central Valley is not a difficult or overly involved procedure.
What are the symptoms of blepharitis?
- Redness of the eyelid edges
- Itchy, burning, watery eyes
- Sticky discharge that causes the eyelids to stick together
- Sore eyes
- Frequent styes
- Tiny pimples on the eyelid edges
- Scaly skin flakes along the eyelid margins
- Gritty sensation leading to irritated eyes and light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
What are the types of blepharitis?
- Staphylococcus blepharitis — Caused by probably the most well-known bacteria, staphylococci, this type of blepharitis often begins in childhood and continues through adulthood. The infection creates collar scales on the lashes, crusting, and chronic redness at the lid margin. Dilated blood vessels, loss of lashes, sties, and chalazia (nodules on the eyelids) can also be part of this blepharitis.
- Seborrheic blepharitis — The most common form, this isn’t a true infection but is caused by improper function of the oil glands of the eyelids. This leads to the development of greasy, waxy scales along the eyelid margins. Seborrhea may be a part of an overall skin disorder that also affects other areas.
- Ulcerative blepharitis — This is less common, but more severe. It is characterized by matted, hard crusts around the eyelashes. When these are removed, it creates small sores that may bleed or ooze. Ulcerative blepharitis can also cause loss of eyelashes, distortion of the front edges of the eyelids, and chronic tearing.
How we treat blepharitis
Keeping the eyelashes clean can control most blepharitis. To do this, take a washcloth moistened with hot tap water and hold it against your eyelids until it cools. Keep repeating this for 5-10 minutes. After soaking, scrub each eyelid gently for one minute using a clean washcloth wrapped around your index finger and moistened with water. You can also use Q-Tips for this. To help get rid of accumulated gunk, you can put a few drops of non-irritating shampoo in lukewarm water and moisten a washcloth, scrubbing back and forth along the eyelashes. Once the redness and soreness subside, this can become a weekly routine.
We may prescribe medications. Eye drops or ointment can be used, along with the cleaning regimen. For staphylococcus blepharitis, we may prescribe antibiotics to deal with the bacteria and alter the oil composition of the eyelid oil glands.
If you have the symptoms of blepharitis, please give us a call at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, (800) 244-9907, to make an appointment.
Posted in: Blepharitis