Blepharitis is a common eye condition that is caused by inflammation of the eyelids. The condition can develop in any age, but is more common in people over the age of 40 years. It is usually a long-term condition. Although irritating and uncomfortable, it is not contagious and does not lead to any permanent eyesight damage. Most individuals go through repeated phases of Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis) with some breaks in between when there are no symptoms.
Types of Blepharitis:
There are three main types of Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis): Seborrhoeic Blepharitis, Staphylococcal Blepharitis, and Meibomian Blepharitis. All three types can cause similar symptoms and have the same Blepharitis treatment.
1. Blepharitis – It is usually caused by a bacterium known as Staphylococcal. This germ is generally present in the skin without causing any harm, but in some people it can cause an infection. There is no explanation as to why it happens this way.
2. Seborrhoeic Blepharitis – It is associated with a skin infection known as seborrhoeic dermatitis where the skin becomes scaly and oily. A kind of yeast known as Malassezia furfur is responsible for this skin issue. In some cases, the yeast triggers a reaction leading to Blepharitis.
3. Meibomian Blepharitis – Meibomian glands are present behind the eyelashes and they secrete an oily fluid that lubricates the front portion of the eyes. Meibomian Blepharitis is caused by dysfunctional Meibomian glands in the eyes and the fluids they produce leading to eyelid inflammation.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
Some common symptoms of Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis) include: • Discomfort in the eyes • Crusting of the eyelashes • Burning sensation in the eyes • Sensitivity to light • Dry eyes • Swollen, red eyes or eyelids • Distorted vision
The condition is not very easy to manage as it is chronic and a complete cure is not possible. However, proper eyelid hygiene coupled with prescription medicine, lid massages and warm compresses are excellent for Blepharitis treatment and can help in controlling the inflammation.
Daily Treatment for Blepharitis
An important part of controlling Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis) involves treating it at home. There are some everyday steps that you can follow to prevent the inflammation.
- First, you can apply warm compresses on the eyes, which can help to loosen the crusts on the eyelids. This can be followed by gentle scrubbing of the same with shampoo and water. It is important to follow this routine at least twice a day till the symptoms go away. After that, you must do it at least once a day to avoid further flare-ups.
- Omega 3 supplements have been shown to help people with Blepharitis and dry eye syndrome. You can include them in your diet.
- Make sure to remove all traces of eye makeup before going to bed. Eye makeup can interfere with hygiene and must be avoided. Also, do not rub your eyelids as it may worsen the inflammation.
- If you wear lenses, your doctor may ask you to replace your lenses more frequently or use RGP lenses. If the allergic Blepharitis is severe, you may need to discontinue wearing the lenses altogether.
- As discussed, Blepharitis generally develops in people suffering from seborrhoeic dermatitis, rosacea or dry eye syndrome. Treating these conditions can also help to reduce the symptoms of Blepharitis.
Your doctor can diagnose the condition by examining the eyes and checking the symptoms. Blepharitis treatment would depend on the severity of the condition. You may be asked to visit an ophthalmologist for more tests if the symptoms are severe or if you do not respond to the initial treatments. Left untreated, the condition can lead to more serious eye problems including injury to the tissues in the eye, scarring etc.
It is important that you go for an eye check-up at least once a year. It is a good way to detect if you have any eye issues and take the necessary treatment. You can take some additional preventive measures for Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis) including maintaining good eyelid hygiene, taking care of skin issues such as rosacea, keeping the scalp dandruff-free, and avoiding touching your eyes too often.