Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelids. It causes the eyes to feel sore and gritty. The eyelids may become sticky, scaly or crusted. This can be troublesome and is typically recurring and persistent.
There are three types of Blepharitis
Characterized by an excessive discharge of oil/grease from the skin around the eyelids. It is usually closely associated with seborrheic dermatitis.
This bacterium lives in low numbers on our skin, however, in some people it causes blepharitis
This is also known as meibomian gland dysfunction. The meibomian glands are in the eyelids and their openings are just behind the eyelashes. They produce the oily fluid that contributes to the tear film. People with meibomian blepharitis have a problem with their meibomian glands with obstruction or the fluid they produce and this may lead to eyelid inflammation.
Possible Complications of Blepharitis
- contact lens intolerance
- changes to the eyelashes – loss of lashes, misdirection of lashes, loss of the colour of lashes
- inflammation of the front of the eye (cornea)
Treatment – Involves Regular Eyelid Hygiene
- Hot compresses – 5- 10 minutes, 3-4 times a day to help unplug any blocked glands
- Massage the eyelid after the hot compress – massage along the length of the upper and lower lids towards the eye, that is sweeping upwards when moving across the lower lid and downwards when sweeping across the upper lid. Massage with the eyes shut, and not gentle or too firm. It should be relatively comfortable.
- Clean the eyelids with commercially prepared lid wipes or a Q-tip with diluted baby shampoo so that the ratio of water to shampoo is 10:1
This routine of warmth, massage and clean should be done twice daily until symptoms subside.
Artificial tears may by recommended as often dry eye accompanies blepharitis.
Occasionally antibiotic ointments will also be added to this regimen.
Omega-3 supplementation may improve symptoms for people with dry eye or blepharitis or alternatively eat 2-4 portions of fish each week.