Blepharitis is a common eye condition with around 200,000 new cases diagnosed in America every year. But first things first, what exactly is blepharitis? Blepharitis is the term for chronic inflammation or infection of the eyelids and eyelash follicles along the edge of the eyelid. Fortunately, blepharitis is not contagious but it can affect patients of all ages. We’ll go over some symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, as well as treatment options for this chronic eye condition.
Some common symptoms of blepharitis include:
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Gritty, burning or stinging sensation in the eyes
- Eyelids that appear greasy
- Itchy eyelids
- Red, swollen eyelids
- Flaking of the skin around the eyes
- Crusted eyelashes upon awakening
- Eyelid sticking
- More frequent blinking
- Sensitivity to light
Blepharitis can be diagnosed with an eye exam. Your eye may also need to be swabbed and tested that way. There are a few factors that may cause blepharitis but the root cause is unknown. It may be associated with one or more of the following:
- Seborrheic dermatitis- dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows
- A bacterial infection
- Clogged or malfunctioning oil glands in your eyelids
- Allergies- including allergic reactions to medications, contact lens solutions or makeup
- Eyelash mites or lice
Though blepharitis is incurable, it can be controlled through proper hygiene and regular cleaning. Treatment and preventative care are key for managing blepharitis. A warm compress can be used to loosen crust and gentle baby shampoo can be used for cleansing. If an infection is present, you may need to apply antibiotics to the area. If topical antibiotics don’t take care of it, an oral antibiotic may be necessary. Eyedrops or artificial tears may also help with eye dryness. Luckily, blepharitis usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyesight, but it can be unsightly to look at.
If you think you may have blepharitis or are having other issues with your eyes, don’t hesitate to make an appointment for an eye exam with us. Your eyes and vision are not something you want to take chances with. Give our Westborough office a call at 508-836-8733.