WHAT IS BLEPHARITIS?
Blepharitis is an inflammation in the top and bottom eyelids which lead to red eyes, puffy/swollen eyelids. Sometimes you will see an excess of mucous discharge, flaky debris, and crusting around the eyes. The most common symptoms include
Scratchy, gritty, sandy feeling of the eyes
Blurry vision due to changes in the tears coating the eye
WHAT CAUSES BLEPHARITIS?
There are small glands that are lined up in rows along the eyelids called Meibomian Glands. These glands secrete the oil layer of your tears and it is very common for them to get infected, inflamed and sometimes completely blocked which will cause reduce the quality of your tears. If infected, most the bacteria is likely Staphylococcus Aureus.
In another type (Anterior Blepharitis), the inflammation resides more in the front parts of the eyelids around the eyelashes.
Aside from infections, Blepharitis can be associated with systemic health problems like Rosacea, Demodex Mites
DIAGNOSIS OF BLEPHARITIS
Some cases of Blepharitis can be detected right away during an eye exam with no special testing or equipment needed. However, to be certain the diagnosis is accurate, our eye doctor will view the eyelid structures, the glands and the tear film quality with a Slit Lamp Bio Microscope and eye drops which stain the tears a fluorescent color.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR BLEPHARITIS?
Like most eye conditions, the treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition, the symptoms and source of the problem.
In mild cases Blepharitis or Meibomian Gland Disease can be treated with one, or a combination of heat (warm compresses on the eyes) and eyelid cleansers like Cliradex, Tea Tree Oil, and Ocusoft. Sometimes over the counter eye drops help with dryness and redness but the effects will most likely be temporary and ineffective.
Other cases require antibiotic ointments/eye drops or low dose oral tetracycline medications.
***Note: Without proper treatment, Blepharitis will likely get worse leading to more symptoms, dry eyes and sometimes Hordeolums (Styes) in the eyelids.