|Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid, along the eyelash line. The condition is not fully understood by doctors, but there are several causes associated with blepharitis as well as a range of treatments.Viruses, bacteria, mites and problems in the oil glands of the eye are all linked to blepharitis. Certain kinds of medication such as those used for severe cases of acne can also cause blepharitis.Blepharitis is not conjunctivitis, or “pink eye”, although the two may occur at the same time and display similar symptoms.
A diagnosis of blepharitis can be made during a complete eye exam. Observation of the condition of the eyelid and eyelash line should be enough to make a diagnosis.
Patients who wear contacts may have to temporarily discontinue their use of the lenses until the inflammation goes away. If a patient used any eye makeup products while they were experiencing blepharitis, the products should be thrown away in case they were contaminated.
Warm compresses can help with the symptoms of blepharitis. Soaking a washcloth in warm water and leaving it across the eyelids for five minutes can loosen any crustiness that builds up at the base of the eyelashes and loosen any debris clogging the oil glands. You can gently massage the eyelids as well. Always be very careful when touching your eyes and be sure not to put too much pressure on your eyeball.
Blepharitis can re-occur in patients over their lifetime.
Strict eye hygiene helps prevent blepharitis. Using clean towels and making sure your hands are clean before touching your eyes and eye area are important steps in prevention. If you wear makeup, it is important to thoroughly remove any traces of it before going to bed.
In cases of posterior blepharitis where the oil glands are not producing enough oil, nutritional supplements of Omega-3 fatty acids may be recommended by your doctor. Flaxseed oil is a common fatty acid supplement.
When to see an eye care professional
If you experience any of the common blepharitis symptoms, it is time to make an appointment with your eye care professional. Blepharitis can cause itching in the eye, redness, crustiness at the base of the lash line and general irritation. You may also feel a foreign body sensation in the eye. This can feel like a piece of sand in the eye or grittiness on the eyeball that doesn’t go away. In some cases of blepharitis, the eyes may become more sensitive to light.
Always see a medical professional for treatment options