Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It is a common condition of the eye in both children and adults which causes swelling, itchiness, redness and crusting of the eyelid margins.
There are two types of blepharitis: Seborrheic and Staphylococcus (staph).
What is Seborrheic Blepharitis?
In seborrheic blepharitis, the glands of the eyelid produce an abnormal quantity and quality of tear film, which normally protects and lubricates the eye. This type of blepharitis is often associated with the skin disease seborrhea. There are many factors which contribute to the development of this condition, including hormones, nutrition, general physical condition and stress.
What are the symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis?
Seborrheic blepharitis causes redness, scaling and flaking of the eyelid margins. The abnormal tear film causes the production of greasy and waxy scales. These scales, which accumulate at the base of the eyelashes, flake off easily.
What is staph blepharitis?
In Staph blepharitis, symptoms are caused by bacteria (staphylococcus aureus). It is a more severe condition which often begins in childhood and continues through adulthood.
What are the symptoms of staph blepharitis?
Staph blepharitis causes the development of matted, hard crusts around the eyelashes. In the morning, it is common for your eyelids to feel sticky due to the oily discharge and crusts formed from the eyelid glands. If this remains untreated, these glands may become plugged and infected.
Blepharitis affects the eyelids (1) and the eyelash hair follicles (2).
How is Blepharitis Treated?
There is no known cure for blepharitis. Therefore, treatment for blepharitis is concentrated on controlling the symptoms to prevent the condition from worsening.
The most important treatment and prevention for blepharitis is to maintain very clean eyelids. Your eye care professional will recommend a program of daily eyelid hygiene. This program of cleaning helps to remove debris, crust and toxic products from the eyelid margin.
Warm Compress: Heat a clean washcloth under warm water and apply the washcloth directly on the closed eyes for five minutes.
Lid Scrubs: While closing your eyes, rub the cloth vigorously back and forth over the eyelashes for 30-60 seconds. Then in front of a mirror, with your eyes open, hold the lower eyelid down and rub the cloth back and forth over the lower eyelashes for another 30-60 seconds. Rinse the cloth thoroughly with clean, warm water and pat dry. Repeat for the other eye.
Polysporin: This in an antibiotic ointment which is available without prescription at most drugstores. Place a small amount on a clean finger tip, then rub it on the lid margins of each eye. Repeat this procedure as often as prescribed.
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