BLEPHARITIS

Blepharitis

Eye Care Patient Education for The Villages and Ocala, FL

Blepharitis is a common condition related to persistent inflammation of the oil glands on the eyelids. This condition frequently occurs in people who have a tendency toward Rosacea, oily skin, dandruff, or dry eyes. Some people may develop an allergy and chronic irritation to the bacteria that are normally present on the eyelids. Symptoms you may experience include: redness, burning, irritation, foreign body sensation, pain, dryness, tearing, mattering or crusting on the lashes, mucus discharge. It is also a major contributing factor to dry eyes.

STYES and CHALAZION

The condition may also predispose to styes or chalazion, which are clogged oil glands that trap bacteria. They continue to grow in size, and may become quite large and painful. The initial therapy is applying warm to hot compresses several times a day, but many go on to need oral antibiotics and an in-office draining procedure to help decompress it and clear it up.

Blepharitis can often be controlled with a few simple daily measures:

FIRST, at least once or twice a day, wet a washcloth with warm to hot water (DON’T Burn yourself, of course!), wring it out, and place over the closed eyelids for at least 10 minutes. Rewet the cloth as often as needed. There are also over-the-counter gel packs that can be heated up and the washrag wrapped around the to give you a longer lasting source of heat. The key is, when it cools, complete the 10 minutes of warm soaking. This will soften and loosen scales and debris, and help melt secretions from plugged oil glands near the lashes.

SECOND, over-the-counter lid scrubs (Thera Tears Sterilid Eye cleaner Gel or Ocusoft Lid Scrubs) should be used to scrub the eyelids AFTER the 10 minutes of the warm compresses. Gently scrub the base of the upper and lower eyelashes for about 30 seconds then rinse with water. This will help to remove the oily debris, matter, and bacteria that was loosened with the warm compresses.

Artificial tears (bought over-the-counter) should be used three to four times a day or as often as needed, to keep the eyes moisturized and to stabilize the tear film. You cannot overuse your artificial tears.  We recommend using name brand tears and avoid generic tears. Also do not use any "red eye" drops as they can become addicting. 

Sometimes topical or oral antibiotics and steroids are used to try and settle the inflammation and control the bacteria. Medications alone are not sufficient; the application of warmth and detailed cleansing of the lashes on a daily basis are the keys to controlling blepharitis!

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