What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids which can make eyelashes and eyelids red and crusty and make them feel irritated or itchy. It can also cause stinging in your eyes or burning soreness, and in some cases your lashes may fall out, and you can develop ulcers or styes. The symptoms are usually worse in the morning, and beside having puffy eyes, your lids may also stick together.

Even though blepharitis is an uncomfortable long-term condition, it rarely causes serious damage to your eyes. It normally affects both eyes, and it can come back even after treatment.


Why do I get blepharitis?

You may get anterior blepharitis from an infection (by staphylococcal bacteria), which affects the outside front edge of your eyelids, or you can get posterior blepharatis in which case your meibomian glands are affected (that produce part of your tears). You may also get blepharitis if there is a complication of seborrhoeic dermatitis, which can make your skin flaky or inflamed, involving your scalp, lashes, ears and eyebrows as well.


Who is at risk of getting blepharitis?

Anyone can develop this condition, but it is more common among people over 50. As one gets older, the glands in the eyelids become blocked more easily, and the tears contain fewer lubricants which can lead to gritty and dry eyes.


What happens if I have blepharitis?

As blepharitis is a chronic condition, often it cannot be completely cured. However, there are a couple of treatments which may help reduce the effects of it. You can use warm compresses which will help loosen the crusts on the eyelid and make them easier to remove. It may also help if you use something similar to warm compress, such as a flannel which, after soaking it in hot water, you have to put on your shut eyelids for five minutes.

After loosening the crusts, it also helps if you scrub your lids with a solution of one part baby shampoo to ten parts water. You can also use bicarbonate soda in which case you need one teaspoon of it dissolved in a cup of lightly cooled boiled water. Alternatively ready-made lid scrubs are also available.  You should aim for the base of your eyelashes while scrubbing.

Lubricants, such as gel or drops may also help soothing the eyes and make them feel more comfortable. Beside lubricants, oral antibiotics may also be prescribed for you that you have to take for three months. However, antibiotic tablets may not suit everyone, so this option needs further consulting with a specialist.

It also helps if you avoid having eye make-up if you have this condition.


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