What Is Blepharitis?
The upper and lower eyelids contain glands along their margins (or edges) that are integral to tear production. At times, these glands may become blocked or infected, increasing the risk of eyelid disease. Blepharitis is one such condition and is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid margins, or the structures bordering the eye near the lash line. While blepharitis and other eyelid conditions are usually not life-threatening, they can cause symptoms, like crusting, redness, itching, loss of eyelashes, and other concerns. Please contact Rothchild Eye Institute in Delray Beach, FL if you or a family member has symptoms of blepharitis. Our board-certified ophthalmologists offer specialized care in managing eyelid disease and preserving your ocular health.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Blepharitis?
There are factors that could put an individual at higher risk of developing blepharitis. Blepharitis can be caused by an infection, certain skin conditions, or an issue with the gland that produces the oil found in tears. Some other risk factors associated with blepharitis include:
- Living or working in a dry environment
- Exposure to dust, chemicals, and other irritants
- Not removing makeup properly
- Hormonal changes
Individuals at a higher risk of developing blepharitis should prioritize eyelid and eyelash hygiene, ideally to reduce the risk of developing blepharitis. If you think you may be at a higher risk of developing blepharitis or seeking relief, connect with Rothchild Eye Institute to learn more about this eye condition and blepharitis treatments available to you, like artificial tears.
What are the symptoms of Blepharitis?
Blepharitis symptoms vary from person to person, with many patients experiencing symptoms early in the morning. A few of the main symptoms include:
- Sore eyelids
- Itchy eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Flakes or crusts around the eyelashes
- Red eyes
- Grit or feeling or sand in the eyes
- Blurry vision that improves with blinking
- Watery eyes
- Eyelids that stick together when you wake up
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How Is Blepharitis Treated?
Blepharitis is generally caused by bacteria residing at the base of the lashes or oil gland disorders. Controlling the growth of these naturally occurring bacteria is often key to reducing flare-ups of the condition. Though there is currently no known cure for blepharitis, its symptoms may be lessened with the following treatment protocols:
- Daily cleansing regimen: Clean your eyelids and face daily with a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser to minimize bacterial accumulation.
- Warm compresses: Apply a clean washcloth dampened with warm water to your eyes for a couple of minutes. This can help prevent the clogging of oil glands and loosen crusting around the eye.
- Antibiotic eye medications: Our eye specialists may prescribe a prescription ointment to apply to the base of your eyelashes or eye drops to enhance oil production and control other symptoms.
- LipiFlow®: This innovative in-office therapy combines heat and gentle pressure massage to help express clogged meibomian glands in the eyelids. It may be recommended for mild to moderate blepharitis cases.
During your visit, our ophthalmologists will examine your eyelids and determine the severity of blepharitis. Treatment options will then be discussed, which may include a combination of self-care and medicinal therapies.
What happens if blepharitis is left untreated?
While blepharitis cannot be outright cured, it can be treated. If this condition is left untreated, it could lead to more severe eye conditions, such as corneal issues. For this reason, it's important to seek treatment once you notice the signs of blepharitis.
What causes blepharitis?
Though it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint exactly what has caused this condition, there are a few triggers that often lead to blepharitis. Common causes of this condition include:
- Poor eyelid hygiene
- Excessive oil in the eyelid
- Bacterial infection
- Allergic reaction
What is the difference between blepharitis and conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is an irritation and inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin layer around the white of the eyes. Blepharitis, on the other hand, is simply an irritation and inflammation of the eyelids. They cause many of the same symptoms, though their locations within the eye are very different.
Specialty Care for Eyelid Inflammation
While often harmless, blepharitis can cause bothersome symptoms that may interfere with your daily life. At Rothchild Eye Institute, our trusted team of ophthalmologists offers personalized blepharitis treatments to improve your comfort and optimize your eye health. Learn more about your options for treating eyelid disease by scheduling an appointment at our eye center in Delray Beach, FL.