Blepharitis currently accounts for around five percent of all eye problems which patients report to their doctors and it is most prevalent amongst those over the age of fifty, although anyone can become infected at any age. It is the medical term for the inflammation of the eyelids and the main causes of the condition are bacterial infection or complications which are related to common skin conditions such as rosacea, which manifests itself as a red and blotchy face, and seborrhoeic dermatitis, which is an itchy rash and the main cause of dandruff. In most cases, blepharitis is not a serious problem but it can sometimes become very uncomfortable and irritating for the sufferer. More often than not, both eyes are affected simultaneously and for many patients the condition is usually quite persistent with symptoms recurring on a regular basis.
The Main Symptoms of Blepharitis
If you are suffering from blepharitis then you will probably encounter the following symptoms which will vary in intensity as the condition comes and goes:
- Sore Eyelids – typically with both eyes being affected at the same time.
- Inflammation of the eyelids – which may also appear greasy.
- Sticky or crusty eyes – especially when you wake up first thing in the morning or during the night.
- Small scales or flaky skin – which appear(s) around the eyelids and eyelashes.
Available Treatments for Blepharitis Patients
There are a number of treatment options available for those who find themselves suffering from blepharitis on a regular basis and these are designed to combat the main symptoms and reduce the reoccurrence of the condition. The easiest way of dealing with the problem is through good sense of hygiene. If you are prone to frequent outbreaks of blepharitis then you should introduce a daily routine of cleansing and soothing the eyelids by washing away any oily secretions and removing any build up of debris. If you wear contact lenses then you should take them out before proceeding.
Warmth and massage are particularly effective towards dealing with the problem. You can apply warmth to the eyelids using a flannel that has been soaked in warm water. This will help to increase the flow of oils from the meibomian glands which often become blocked thus leading to the main symptoms. Once these oils are sufficiently heated, you can then use your fingers to rub gently across the eyelids from the inner corner of your eye to the outer corner. The idea is to stimulate the secretion of any built up fluids before cleansing the eyelids with a solution of warm water and baby shampoo. Of course, this is just one example and there are many alternative recommendations which different people find just as effective.
If the infection is more serious then your GP may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or a special ointment which is to be placed around the eyelids. In severe cases, oral medication may be prescribed. If this is the case, then you will need to complete the full course of tablets and you will often have to take this medication for up to 3 months in order to achieve the desired results of eradicating the problem completely.