What is Blepharitis?

What is Blepharitis?


Swollen eyelids with blepharitis ( clubtable [Public domain])

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids due to oil gland congestion. It can cause redness, itching, burning, and scaly skin at the edges of the eyelids. Blepharitis is more common in people who have oily skin, rosacea, dandruff, or skin allergies. Since oil is not draining into the tear film, eyelids can become inflamed and eyes can feel irritated.

With treatment, you can manage your symptoms so that your eyes remain comfortable. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe an eye drop or oral antibiotic.

Blepharitis Treatment

Mild symptoms can be treated at home with artificial tears, warm compresses, and taking flaxseed oil capsules. You can use your preferred over-the-counter artificial tears to treat eye irritation. People can be sensitive to preservatives in some over-the-counter drops. If that is the case, look for the brands that are preservative free. Flaxseed oil capsules can also be found over-the-counter. The recommended dosage is 1,000 mg daily. However, you can take up to 3,000 mg daily for the first month if your symptoms are severe.

Warm compresses can easily be done at home by wetting a clean washcloth in warm water and placing over closed eyes for at least 1 minute. Wring out excess water before placing the washcloth on your face. You can also dilute 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo in the bowl of warm water and use the washcloth to scrub the base of the lashes. This will keep lids clean and help loosen clogged oil. Lid scrub towelettes can be purchased over-the-counter  as well.

If your doctor prescribed medicine for you, use it as directed. Call your doctor if you think you are having an adverse reaction to your medicine.

The above photo shows a bumpy lash line, caused by clogged oil glands. You may also see that the eye is red, which is due to the oil gland inflammation and lack of oil in the tear film.


When should you see a doctor?

Call your doctor if your symptoms are not managed at home or if inflammation and irritation worsen.

If you believe you have blepharitis and are experiencing these symptoms, or if you are looking to establish care with an ophthalmologist, call our office at (859)278-9486 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dudee. You can also email our office at info@medicalvision.com or send an appointment request through our online portal.


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