Blepharitis is according to Wikipedia “a chronic inflammation of the eyelids”. The condition is in some cases not properly diagnosed and can for example be associated with dry eye caused by tear deficiency. In this post we will look deeper into how to treat Blepharitis.
Blepharitis comes in several forms and is often caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharits) or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis). There is also ulcerative blepharitis which is a more complicated type of blepharitis. All of the above mentioned types of blepharitis are categorized as “anterior blepharitis”. There is also something called “posterior blepharitis”, which is more commonly known as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. For more information about the different types of blepharitis and how to diagnose blepharitis click here.
In this particular post I would like to discuss how to treat anterior blepharitis, specifically.
Blepharitis is actually one of the more common eye problems. It affects people of all ages and can in most cases be managed without any damages to the eye. If left untreated though, it can develop into ulcerative blepharitis which can cause loss of eyelashes, eyelid scarring and inflammation of the cornea. In general though, by properly treating blepharitis you will be able to avoid infections such as pink eye, inflammation of the oil glands (stye, chalazion and hordeolum).
Common symptoms of blepharitis are itching, burning and redness around the edge of the eyelids, excessive tearing and loss of eyelashes. You may also notice greasy scales, similar to dandruff, on the eyelids. Other symptoms are foreign body sensation and a feeling of sand or grittiness in the eye.
So how is blepharitis treated? During the acute phase stronger measures may have to be taken to get the inflammation and irritation under control, but usually proper lid hygiene is sufficient to manage the condition. In most cases, treating blepharitis requires the same type of treatment regime as for dry eye in general. If you would like to know more about how to treat dry eye then click here.
Below is a list of measures that you can take to target your blepharitis symptoms today.
1. Identify your type of blepharitis
As with any case of dry eye the first step in any effective dry eye treatment is to identify your specific case of dry eye. For some cases of blepharitis you will be able to get a good understanding of your condition by yourself, but in other cases testing will be required and this can only be done by an ophthalmologist. It is, however, always recommended that you see a dry eye doctor. For more information on identifying different types of dry eye click on this link.
2. Keep a good eyelid hygiene
It is absolutely crucial that you keep a good eyelid hygiene. A general guideline is to use commercially prepared, or home made lid scrubs and cleansing agents two times a day, in the morning and in the evening. During the acute phase you might have to increase the number of lid scrubs applied to several a day.
Make up can aggravate blephartis problems, so using less make up or make up specifically developed for blephartis sufferers should be evaluated.
A good process for eye lid scrubs is applying a warm washcloth to the eyelids to loosen any crusts. This can also be done with hot water only. Be careful with the heat as the eyelids will burn easily. You can test the heat from the wash cloth by putting it on the back of your palm.
After you have rinsed the eyelids you should apply the cleansing agent, by either massaging it with the tip of your fingers or by using a cotton swab moistened with the cleansing agent.
Different people will have different tolerance levels for the cleansing agent. Some types are very strong and may cause your eyes to tear excessively, so make sure that you try a few of the brands on the market out before making your choice.
Remember to not touch your face and eyes without washing your hands before. Bacteria will easily gather on your hands and could thereafter be transferred to your eyes. You can read more about how to wash your hands properly here.
As always, results won’t come overnight so make sure that you keep a diligent treatment regime for maximum results.
As with any case of dry eye you will most likely need to use artificial tears. The type of artificial tears that you should use will depend on your specific case of blepharitis. For more information on the best eye drops for dry eye click here. If you would like to know how to apply eye drops properly then click here.
4. Vitamins & Supplements
Depending on your type of blepharitis you may require adding supplements to your treatment. A very common supplement for dry eye patients is Omega-3 fish oil or flaxseed oils, but there are also other options that will target inflammations in the body and provide an immune-boosting effect. For more information about supplements for dry eye click here.
5. Reducing Inflammation
Blepharitis is an inflammatory disease so suppressing the inflammation is something that you will want to focus on. This can be done by antibiotics but before taking medication you should try changing your diet first. There are foods that will improve the body’s natural ability to fight inflammation and there are also foods that will increase the risks of inflammation. Make sure that you only eat the good stuff. For more information on this subject click on the links below:
Antibiotics should never be used for an extended period of time but can be a valuable tool in acute phases of blepharitis. Antibiotics can be applied directly to the base of the eyelids (topical antibiotics) or administered orally (oral antibiotics).
7. Treat underlying conditions
You should identify any conditions that may cause or aggravate your blepharitis. Common problems that will need to be addressed are skin disorders like rosacea and seborrhea.
If you have a more difficult case of Blepharitis you can read more in this post about chronic blepharitis treatment.
As always, please write your thoughts, comments and own experiences below.
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