Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelids, usually involving the area where the eyelashes grow.
This common and irritating eye condition affects around 37% of American ophthalmologists’ patients, according to a recent survey.
While blepharitis usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to eyesight and isn’t contagious, it is uncomfortable and often difficult to treat.
How does blepharitis form? What symptoms should you look for? And most importantly, how can it be treated?
Let’s take a look.
Onset & Symptoms of Blepharitis
Blepharitis most commonly forms because the oil glands around the eyelashes are clogged, leading to irritation and swelling of the eyes.
Blepharitis can also be caused by bacterial or fungal eye infections, as well as the infestation of small parasites, called Demodex eyelash mites, around the eyelashes.
Understand that allergic reactions to eye medications or contact solutions can cause blepharitis and dry eyes, too.
Blepharitis is so commonly associated with dry eyes that most specialists have started diagnosing them as one entity, called dry eye blepharitis syndrome, or DEBS for short.
But there are many other symptoms of blepharitis to look for other than dry eyes, such as:
- Red eyes
- Watery eyes
- Burning or stinging sensation in your eyes
- Greasy, crusty, or sticky eyelashes
- Eyelashes growing abnormally or falling out
- Light sensitivity
- Constantly feeling like something is in your eye
Most of these symptoms can also be related to other eye conditions.
Because of this, it is important to keep your eyes clean and communicate effectively with your eye doctor if you feel like you may be developing symptoms of blepharitis.
Now that you have seen the signs of blepharitis, and are ready to start taking counteractive measures, here are a few suggestions to start treating the condition:
- Visit your doctor. While there are some in-home treatments, you must schedule an appointment to see your doctor, as he or she will be able to recommend treatment that you might not have access to and tell you how severe your blepharitis is.
- Make sure to wash your eyes with warm water and compresses. That will help the inflammation and may even cure the symptoms before you ever reach the doctor’s office.
- Your eye doctor may recommend treatments. These may include antibiotics, steroid eye drops, or other immune system boosters to fight the condition.
It is important to keep in mind that blepharitis rarely ever disappears completely, even with successful treatments.
Remember that the condition is most frequently chronic. Keep up a clean and healthy lifestyle to avoid as many outbreaks of the condition as possible.
And, as always, if you are concerned about blepharitis, contact your doctor immediately so that you can stay informed and stay safe!