Blepharitis is an eye disorder that causes the eyelids to become inflamed. Although it does not typically cause any serious harm to eyesight, Blepharitis can be incredibly uncomfortable, interfering with your quality of life. Symptoms include flaking and crusting on the eyelids, itching, a burning sensation in the eye, redness, and general irritation. Dr. David O’Day, M.D. will examine your eyes to determine if Blepharitis is present and formulate a path of treatment depending on the severity.
Types of Blepharitis
There are two main forms of Blepharitis. Although some patients only notice minor irritation and itching, others may experience more severe Blepharitis symptoms, such as blurry vision and corneal inflammation.
- Posterior Blepharitis: This form of the disease occurs at the inner edge of your eyelid, where the lid makes contact with the surface of your eye. Posterior Blepharitis is usually caused by irregular oil production in your eyelid glands, which can promote bacteria growth. However, posterior Blepharitis can also be caused by skin conditions like Rosacea and Acne.
- Anterior Blepharitis: This type of Blepharitis occurs at the outside front edge of your eyelid, where the eyelashes attach. It can be caused by many different factors, but bacteria and scalp/eyebrow dandruff are the two most common causes.
Signs and Symptoms
- Eye irritation
- Foreign body sensation
- Crusty debris (in the lashes, in the corner of the eyes or on the lids)
- Red eyelid margins
It’s important to seek treatment for Blepharitis especially if it is bacterial due to possible long-term effects on your eyes. Without treatment you could experience thickened lid margins, dilated and visible capillaries, misdirected eyelashes, loss of eyelashes and a loss of the normal position of the eyelid margin against the eye. Blepharitis can also lead to styes and infections or erosion of the cornea.
Blepharitis can be difficult to manage because it tends to recur. Treatment depends on the type of Blepharitis you have. It may include applying warm compresses to the eyelids, cleaning your eyelids frequently, using an antibiotic and/or massaging the lids to help express oil from the meibomian glands. If your Blepharitis makes your eyes feel dry, artificial tears or lubricating ointments may also be recommended. In some cases, anti-bacterial or steroid eye drops or ointments may be prescribed by Dr. O’Day.
Always wash your hands before and after touching your eyelids when treating Blepharitis. Your eye doctor will provide instructions on the products and techniques to use to relieve symptoms and get your Blepharitis under control. Thereafter, a daily regimen of lid hygiene is helpful in preventing recurrences of Blepharitis.
There is some evidence to suggest that taking a daily flaxseed oil supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent or reduce the severity of posterior Blepharitis. Be sure to discuss any supplement use with your doctor.
Because Blepharitis tends to be chronic, expect to keep up therapy for a prolonged period of time to keep it at bay. If you normally wear Contact Lenses, you may need to discontinue wearing them during the treatment period and even beyond. Sometimes, changing from soft contact lenses to rigid gas permeable (GP) contacts can be helpful, since GP lenses are less likely to accumulate lens deposits. In other cases, contact lens discomfort caused by Blepharitis can be relieved by replacing soft contact lenses more frequently or changing to one-day disposable lenses.
No matter what your vision-related issues, it is crucial to have a skilled, caring, and trusted health care provider. If you live in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, and Myrtle Beach SC or surrounding areas, consider visiting Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery for help with a variety of vision-related issues including Blepharitis. Call us at (843) 856-5275 for more information.