What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an inflammation or infection of the eyelids. It is also known as granulated eyelids and is commonly a chronic condition. It can affect both children and adults. It is a benign condition but can cause frequent and annoying symptoms.
There is no one specific cause of blepharitis; most frequently it is associated with bacterial overgrowth on the eyelids and Staphylococcus species is the most common. Blepharitis can also be associated with other skin conditions such as seborrhea and rosacea.
Chronic crusting of the eyelids is the hallmark symptoms of blepharitis. Other common symptoms include redness of the eyelid margins, chalazion (stye) formation, dry eye symptoms and chronic redness of the eyes.
Only your eye doctor can diagnose blepharitis. During the examination your doctor will look for the classic signs of plugged meibomian glands, crusting of the eyelid margin, and associated findings of conjunctival injection and sometimes corneal involvement.
Blepharitis usually does not adversely affect vision unless the corneas become involved. Inflammation of the corneas can lead to ulceration, scarring and growth of abnormal blood vessels onto the cornea.
Blepharitis is difficult to cure. The mainstay of treatment involves hygiene of the eyelids. Eyelid scrubs with a baby shampoo solution or over the counter eyelid cleaners should be performed regularly. Warm compresses are helpful when stye formation occurs. Sometimes chronic antibiotic ointments or systemic antibiotics are necessary. Steroid medication may be used if the cornea becomes inflamed.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Apply mild shampoo (typically baby shampoo) or lid scrub solution to a clean cloth and work into a lather.
After closing the eyes, gently scrub the lashes and eyelid margin with the soapy cloth.
Rinse eyes and face with water.
There is no evidence that blepharitis can be passed from one individual to another. Sometimes conjunctivitis can develop in association with the blepharitis, and this could be contagious.
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