Treatment of blepharitis


Blepharitis is an eye condition caused by a bacterial infection that makes the eyelid become red and swollen. It is typically a chronic condition that affects one or both eyes and can develop at any age but not contagious.

There are three types of blepharitis. They include anterior blepharitis, posterior blepharitis and mixed blepharitis. Common symptoms are dry eyes, crusting, irritation, itching, red eyelids, increased sensitivity to light and loss of eyelashes, tearing and discomfort when wearing contact lenses. These symptoms are usually worse in the morning.

Anterior blepharitis affects the outer side of the front of the eyelids. It is caused by two reasons which are bacterial infection at the margin of the eyelid and a mite called Demodex. Bacterial infection is manifested by crusting while the mite infection is evident as cylindrical sleeves on the lashes. Blepharitis caused by bacterial infection is treated with an antibiotic that is put in the lid. To diagnose Demodex, optometrists have to pull out some lashes and examine them for mites under the microscope. Treatment is by application of tea tree oil.

Posterior blepharitis is caused by the blockage of the Meibomian glands either by oil, flaky skin or inflammation. It affects the base of the eyelashes and is characterized by scarring. Blockage can also be caused by a skin condition known as rosacea. Mixed blepharitis involves both symptoms found in anterior and posterior blepharitis. It is the most common of the three conditions.

Recent studies have shown that blepharitis is also known to be associated with less obvious systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory diseases and hormonal imbalances.

Blepharitis has no known cure but its symptoms can be managed on a daily basis. Use a warm compress to make the oil produced around the eye run. Then massage the eyelids gently to get rid of the oils. Clean your eyelids with a wash cloth together with a commercial lid scrub. This removes dust and bacteria around the eye.

Omega-3 fatty acids are good supplements for reducing inflammation. You should take 1 to 3 g for three days. In case of blepharitis recurrence, take the medication for about six to twelve months. Fish is the best source of omega-3 proteins.

You can apply moist heat for five minutes before and after bedtime to make the eyelid skin more comfortable and avoid the occurrence of wrinkles. Do this four times a day for two weeks. Later do it twice a day for a month and lastly twice a week.

Blinking helps the Meibomian glands to expand. The glands produce oil through nerve and mechanical action. Blinking is mainly affected by age and general health of the eye.

If you believe you are suffering from blepharitis contact us today to see one of our optometrists for a thorough assessment.