What is blepharitis?
Your eyelids are the crinkles of skin that cover your eyes and defend them from debris and injury. Their eyelids also have eyelashes with short, curved hair follicles at the edge of the lids. These follicles contain sebaceous glands. These sebaceous glands can sometimes become clogged or irritated, which can trigger certain eyelid disorders. One of these disorders is known as eyelid irritation or blepharitis.
What causes blepharitis?
Everyone has some bacteria on their skin. Some people, however, have more bacteria at the base of their lashes than others. This can cause flakes similar to dandruff. Also, some people have problems with the sebaceous glands in the eyelids, which causes blepharitis.
Symptoms of blepharitis
The condition causes your eyelids to become red, itchy, and slightly swollen. The bases of the lashes may look flaky. You may also notice:
- Feeling like there’s something in your eye
- A burning sensation in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
- Red eyes
- Crying eyes
- Crisp lashes when you wake up in the morning
Treatment for blepharitis
Treatment of blepharitis usually includes medical and home treatment.
A doctor will recommend home treatment, as described below, but may also perform the following treatments:
- Electrochemical debridement of the eyelid margin (BlephEx): Removes mites, bacteria, and the biofilm that they create from the eyelids. It also opens up the clogged meibomian glands.
- Thermal pulsation treatment (Lipiflow): Melts any material that clogs the meibomian glands.
- Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL): This opens the glands in the clogged eyelids.
- Occasionally severe cases of this disease may need antibiotics, either topical or oral.
What are the types of blepharitis?
There are 2 types of blepharitis. You can have 1 type of blepharitis, or you can have both types at the same time.
- Anterior blepharitis: Anterior blepharitis affects the outer part of the eye, where the eyelashes adhere to the eyelid. It usually occurs due to the presence of bacteria on the skin or dandruff on the scalp or eyebrows. Allergies or mites (tiny parasites) can also cause anterior blepharitis, but this is rare.
- Posterior blepharitis: Posterior blepharitis affects the outer part of the inner edge of the eyelid, the part that touches the eye. This type of this disease occurs when the sebaceous glands in the eyelids become blocked. Common skin conditions like rosacea and scalp dandruff can cause posterior blepharitis.
Diagnosis of blepharitis
It can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. Tests, with special emphasis on the eyelids and the front surface of the eyeball, may include:
- Patient history to control any symptoms the patient is experiencing and any general health problems that may be causal to the eye problem.
- External examination of the eye, including the structure of the eyelid, the texture of the skin, and the appearance of the eyelashes.
- Evaluation of the eyelid margins, the base of the eyelashes and the openings of the Meibomian glands with bright light and magnification
- Evaluation of the quantity and quality of tears to detect abnormalities.
A doctor of optometry can determine the type of this disease based on the appearance of the eyelid margins. The different types and symptoms are as follows:
- Patients with staphylococcal blepharitis often have slightly sticky eyelids, thickened eyelid margins, and misdirected or lost eyelashes.
- Patients with seborrheic blepharitis have greasy scales or flakes around the base of the eyelashes and mild redness of the eyelids.
- Ulcerative blepharitis patients have hard, matted crusts around the eyelashes. Removing the scabs leaves small sores that ooze and bleed. These patients may also experience loss of eyelashes, distortion of the front edges of the eyelids, and chronic tearing. In severe cases, the cornea (the transparent front cover of the eyeball) develops inflamed.
- Patients with Meibomian blepharitis have a blockage of the sebaceous glands in the eyelids, poor quality tears, and redness of the lining of the eyelids.
Complications of blepharitis
If you have this disease, you may also have:
- Eyelash problems: It can cause eyelashes to fall out, grow abnormally (misdirected eyelashes), or lose colour.
- Eyelid skin problems: Scars may develop on the eyelids due to prolonged blepharitis. Or the edges of the eyelids may turn inward or outward.
- Excess tears or dry eyes: Abnormal greasy emissions and other debris that shed from the eyelids, such as the flaking related to dandruff, can accrue in the tear film – the solution of water, oil, and mucus that makes up tears.
- The abnormal tear film interferes with keeping the eyelids moist. This can irritate your eyes and cause symptoms of dry eyes or excessive tearing.
- Stye: A stye is an infection that develops near the base of the eyelashes. The result is a painful lump on the edge of the eyelid. A stye is usually most noticeable on the surface of the eyelid.
- Chalación: A chalazion occurs when there is an obstruction in one of the small oil glands on the eyelid margin, just behindhand the eyelashes. This blockage causes inflammation of the gland, causing the eyelid to swell and red. This may go away or turn into a hard, painless lump.
- Chronic pink eye: It can cause recurrent episodes of pink eye (pink eye).
- Corneal injury: Constant irritation from inflamed eyelids or misdirected lashes can cause a corneal sore to develop. Not having enough tears could increase the risk of a corneal infection.
Prevention of blepharitis
Inflammation of the eyelids can be uncomfortable, painful, and unsightly. Unfortunately, this condition cannot always be prevented, but you can take steps to reduce your risk of inflammation.
Make sure to wash your face regularly. This includes removing eye and face makeup before going to bed. Don’t touch your eyes with dirty hands, and don’t rub your itchy eyelids. Rubbing your eyes can spread an existing infection. Also, have your eyelids checkered if you sign pain, redness, or swelling. Controlling dandruff also helps reduce inflammation. If you have severe dandruff, talk to your doctor. You may need a prescription shampoo.
Risks of developing blepharitis
A risk factor is something that increases your coincidental of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors may contain:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Acne rosacea
- Contact allergies
- Chemical irritants
- Poor hygiene
- Cosmetic makeup
- Advanced age