What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margin and may affect the front (anterior) part of the eyelid and eyelashes and/or back (posterior) part of the eyelid around the openings of oil glands (meibomian glands).
Causes and Symptoms:
Blepharitis is usually caused by a colonization of bacteria (often staphylococcus) but can also be similar to dandruff (seborrheic blepharitis) or associated with acne rosacea.Blepharitis often causes the eyes to feel irritated, scratchy and dry. The eyelid margins can become red and may cause styes.
Blepharitis is very difficult to eradicate and treatment is usually aimed at controlling symptoms.Anterior blepharitis may respond to occasional scrubbing of the eyelashes with a weak soapy solution ie 1/8th teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 1 cup of boiled water or 2 drops baby shampoo in 1 cup boiled water. Antibacterial foams ie sterilid to the closed eyelids for 1 minute is another alternative. Posterior blepharitis may respond to a hot flannel or hot compress to the closed eyelids for 1-2 mins once or twice a day. Lubricating eye drops up to 4 times a day may be required for associated dry eye. A short course of anti-inflammatory eye drop or ointment may be required in more severe cases. Long term oral antibiotics such as doxycline can also be of benefit particularly in blepharitis associated with acne rosacea.