Blepharitis blog post

Submitted by maanavm on Wed, 02/22/2023 - 12:37

Blepharitis is essentially inflammation of the eyelids. It affects both eyes along the edges of the eyelids. It commonly occurs when tiny oil glands along the base of the eyelids become clogged, and this can lead to red, swollen, irritated, and itchy eyelids. Additionally, although not contagious, it is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage and treat. 


Image of clogged oil (meibomian) glands at the eyelid base.


Blepharitis has a multitude of signs and symptoms affecting the eye and eyesight. Symptoms include watery and/or red eyes, a burning/stinging sensation in the eyes, skin flaking around the eyes, crusted lashes, and light sensitivity. Although there is no exact cause of the condition other than clogged meibomian glands, there are multiple possible causes. For example, it can often be associated with a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which is dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows. In addition, rosacea, or skin redness in the face, can also cause blepharitis. Allergies due to eye medications, contact lens solutions, and makeup as well as dry eyes and eye mites are also possible causes. Blepharitis can also cause many complications affecting the eyes and skin such as eyelashes falling out or growing abnormally, eyelid scarring, excess tearing, and styes (painful lump on the edge of the eyelid) and chalazions (blockage in oil glands at the edge of the eyelid). 

Blepharitis blog post

Image of a stye


Blepharitis can be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist using eye and eyelid examination via special magnifying instrument, swabbing skin for testing in order to obtain a sample of oil or crust forming in your eyelid and determine any signs of infection or allergies. Treatment can range from self-care methods such as eye washing and warm compresses, antibiotics to help get rid of bacterial infection in the eyelid, medications to control inflammation, and immune medications. These medications can come in the form of eyedrops, ointments, or even creams. In addition, treatments for other underlying conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea might also be used to treat blepharitis caused by these conditions. Since the condition rarely goes away completely, not taking care of the eyelid on a regular basis can eventually cause localized eye cancer on the affected area or areas on one or more eyelids.