Most people know it’s important to visit the eye doctor once a year, but not many do. In fact, out of the 61 million Americans who face vision loss, only half of them will go to the eye doctor.
Fortunately, not all conditions such as blepharitis are vision-threatening. However, if you’ve ever experienced itchy and irritated eyelids, you know how uncomfortable it can be.
Read on to learn more about blepharitis.
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis refers to the inflammation of the oil glands in the eyelids that causes swelling and crusting around the eyes.
Although there’s a treatment for this condition, it can be a recurring problem in most children and often doesn’t go away for years. In some cases, the infection can cause a loss of eyelashes.
What Are the Causes of Blepharitis?
Blepharitis develops for a variety of reasons such as excessive production of the sebaceous glands, a bacterial infection, or seborrhea. Most of the time seborrheic dermatitis causes inflammation on the top layer of the skin which causes itchy and red skin and a scaly appearance.
Although there are a few misconceptions, blepharitis is not caused by poor hygiene. Most doctors don’t understand the underlying causes that lead to chronic blepharitis.
Other causes associated with blepharitis also include parasites such as the Demodex eyelash mite, and the exposure to the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Those who suffer from dandruff are more vulnerable to contracting blepharitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?
The symptoms of Blepharitis depend on whether or not the condition is anterior or posterior.
Anterior Blepharitis causes irritation in the front edge of the eye where the eyelids join together. Posterior blepharitis, on the other hand, mostly stays in the inner part of the eyelid where it meets the eyeball.
The most reported symptoms include:
- Red around the eyes
- Scaling and crusting around the base of the eyelids
- Itchy eyelids
- Watery and irritated eyes
- Feeling of burning and stinging eyes
- Increased sensitivity to the light
- Gritty sensation in the eyes
These symptoms tend to come and go due to the chronic factor of this condition.
If you or your doctor suspect you might have blepharitis, your doctor will ask you a few questions and perform a few tests to confirm the diagnosis.
The doctor will start by taking down your medical history to look for some causes. Next, the doctor will take a closer look at your eyes and your eyelids.
Some doctors will perform a slit-lamp examination to confirm whether or not it is blepharitis.
This tool is nothing but a low-power microscope that produces and thin but intense beam of this. With the help of this tool, your doctor can take a good look at your eyelids.
Once the doctor has confirmed the diagnosis, he or she can recommend the best treatment.
Treatment of Blepharitis
Although there’s not a cure for blepharitis, there are many treatments available to manage most flare-ups. The treatment can include medical and home remedies, but it depends on the severity of the condition.
Some doctors recommend the following treatments to treat blepharitis:
Thermal Pulsating Treatment (Lipoflow): Doctors use this treatment to melt away any obstruction to the Meibomian glands that might be causing a buildup.
Electrochemical Lid Margin Debridement (BlephEx): If the cause of blepharitis is mites or other types of bacteria, your doctor might use this treatment to remove any buildup on the eyelids. This treatment will also open up any clogs in the Meibomian glands.
Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL): This treatment will also open up any clogs in the glands.
If the condition has gotten too severe, some doctors might even prescribe antibiotics to aid the recovery.
Of course, there are also a few things you can do to get rid of blepharitis. Check out this article for more treatment options.
Home Remedies for Blepharitis
Those who suffer from blepharitis might not always want to run to the doctor’s office for treatment. Luckily, there are many ways to treat blepharitis from home.
If the cause of blepharitis is a bacterial infection, you will want to keep those eyelids as clean as possible to prevent the condition from worsening. Also, continue to keep the eyelids free of bacteria even after the condition has improved.
When you’re experiencing a flare-up avoid using anything that will irritate your eyelid further. For example, stop using eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, and others.
Remember to be diligent with these home remedies to prevent any severe flare-ups.
Treating your blepharitis at home is quite simple and all you need to do is apply a warm compress, clean your eyelids, and massage the area.
Cleaning your eyelids will remove any crust buildups and prevent any new crust to adhere to the old one. Applying a warm compress before you clean it will loosen any crust and make it easier to remove. Massaging the eyelids will help with the excess oil on the eyelids.
Apply a Warm Compress
Using a compress is quite simple and you only need to do it for up to 10 minutes at a time.
Start by warming up some water and using a clean cloth to dip it in. Make sure the water is warm enough but not too hot that it burns. You want to avoid burning your eyelid.
Wring off any excess water from the cloth and apply it over your eyelid without scrubbing.
Clean Your Eyelids
To clean your eyelids, all you have to do is dilute some baby shampoo in some water. A few drops of shampoo in a cup of water is all you need.
Using a cotton swab to dip in the solution, gently rub it on the base of your eyelids.
Massage Your Lids
Once the sebum has loosened, take your finger and gently massage the margin of your eyelid. Do this every time you apply the warm compress.
Treating Blepharitis: The Bottom Line
Now that you know the causes of blepharitis, you will know how to get it under control.
Although there is no cure for blepharitis, there are many treatments your doctor can perform at the office or steps you can take at home to prevent any flareups.
The key is to stay consistent with the treatment.