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is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids. A common problem in both
children and adults, blepharitis causes swelling, itching and irritation
of the eyelids. There are two types of blepharitis: seborrheic and
The outer layer of the eyelid is composed of skin,
while the inside of the eyelid is lined with moist tissue. Muscles and
glands are located between the skin and the moist lining. The eyelashes
are located on the eyelid margins, the area which come together when the
eyelid is closed. Tiny openings from which glands secrete the oily part of
tears are also located on the eyelid margin. The eyelid margins are the
areas most often affected by blepharitis.
What is seborrheic
Seborrheic blepharitis is associated with dandruff of the scalp and may be
part of an overall skin disease (seborrhea) which also affects the chest,
back, and behind the ears. With seborrheic blepharitis, the glands of the
eyelid produce an abnormal quantity and quality of teat film, which
normally coats, protects, and lubricates the eye. Several factors
including hormones, nutrition, general physical condition, and stress my
contribute to the development of this condition.
is a chronic inflammation that affects the eyelids (1) and the
eyelash hair follicles (2). Careful eyelid hygiene can do much to
What are the symptoms of
form of blepharitis is characterized by redness of the eyelids. Scaling
and flaking around the eyelashes are also common. The production of
abnormal tear film causes the formation of greasy, waxy scales. These
scales, which accumulate at the base of the eyelashes, flake off easily.
What is staph
Staph blepharitis is a more severe condition which often begins in
childhood and continues through adulthood. Infective in nature, staph
blepharitis continues through adulthood. Infective in nature, staph
blepharitis is caused by bacteria (staphylococcus aureus).
What are the symptoms of
Staph blepharitis is characterized by matted, hard crusts around the
eyelashes. The crusts may make opening the eyes in the morning difficult.
Removal of the crusts often leaves small ulcers which bleed or ooze.
In some cases of staph blepharitis, a red eye may develop or a sty may
form. A loss of lashes or broken lashes may be experienced. If left
untreated, staph blepharitis may lead to infection and scarring of the
cornea and other areas of the eye.
How is blepharitis
It is often difficult to distinguish between the two types of blepharitis,
as they frequently appear together. The main difference is the presence of
ulcers with staph blepharitis. These ulcers are not present with
seborrheic blepharitis. However, both forms of the disease are treated
similarly. Treatment of blepharitis is concentrated on maintaining very clean eyelid
margins. The eyelids must be kept immaculately clean.
Directions For An Eyelid
Scrub: This should be done every
morning as maintenance therapy and two to three times a day if your Blepharitis
is active. Think of this like brushing your teeth, if you keep them
clean you get fewer cavities. Warm water scrubs are inexpensive, feel great and
they work. There are not many treatments
so inexpensive and effective. 80% of eye lid infections can be
treated this way, the remaining 20% need additional help such as
antibiotic drops or ointment. Please consult your eye
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Saturate the clean washcloth with
warm/hot water and then ring out.
- Close one eye and using the clean hot
wash cloth, rub back and forth across the eyelashes and the edge of
the eyelid for at least 60 seconds per eye.
- Rinse with clear, cool water.
Maintaining very clean eyelid margins is
one of the most important aspects of treatment for blepharitis.
In severe cases, antibiotic drops and ointments are also helpful in
controlling the condition. Cortisone drops or preparations often relieve
the bothersome symptoms of itching and irritation. However, prolonged use
of cortisone may cause undesirable effects.
Application of hot packs may provide additional relief. The heat causes
the blood vessels to dilate, which improves blood circulation and healing.
The heat also opens and cleans out infected gland pores in the eyelid
margin. In cases of seborrheic blepharitis, treatment of the scalp with
anti-dandruff shampoos may also be helpful.
Once the acute phase of blepharitis is controlled, lid cleaning and the
use of bland ointments may be sufficient to control the condition.
Blepharitis can be a continuing problem which is difficult to eliminate
completely. However, with vigorous treatment and patient cooperation,
blepharitis can almost always be controlled.
Prevention is the
Regular eye examinations are the best prevention against eye
diseases. Eye problems can occur at any age, and the symptoms of some
problems are not noticeable until the eye has suffered damage. However,
with early detection and treatment of eye problems, sight loss can often
If you are experiencing the symptoms of blepharitis or other vision
problems, you should obtain a complete eye examination from an eye