Blepharitis

These two images show the hallmark signs of blepharitis - scaly eyelid margins & inflammation

Blepharitis is an extremely common condition that results in inflammation of the upper and lower eyelid. This leads can lead to eyes that have a 'red-rimmed' appearance and cause dry, irritated and sore eyes. It is one of the most common causes of Dry Eye Disease.

 

Blepharitis is caused from inflammation of the glands that produce the oil (top) layer of our tears. The inflammation leads to these glands to be clogged. If blepharitis is not correctly diagnosed as a cause of your dry eye you will continue to treat symptoms instead of getting to the root of the problem. If the glands are blocked for a prolong time this can lead to multiple hordeolums/chalazions (styes)  and eventually the glands will atrophy. With the eye unable to make tears properly different type of bacteria can make their home on the eyelid leading to increased inflammation, redness and discomfort. 

 

Once these glands are atrophied there is no bringing them back and a life long battle with dry eye will ensue. 

Inflammation can be caused by bacteria, meibomian gland dysfunction, chronic dry eye and a pesky little mite called Demodex 

Symptoms can include:

  • Burning or stinging eyes

  • Red, inflamed eyelid margins

  • Crusty debris at eyelash base or on eyelashes

  • Eyelashes that are constantly matted together

  • A sensation that there is something in your eye 

  • Itchy eyelids

 

 

Treatment:

  • The most effective way to treat blepharitis is to use heat and keep the area clean. This opens up the glands to allow the oil to flow freely. Regular visits to an optometrist or eyecare professional is also needed to express these glands and ensure they are open. 

  • A mask to use 1-2X a day is a great at home solution to help with blepharitis. We recommend the Eye Eco Tranquil-Eyes for effective blepharitis management. The discs are easy to use, get hot and stay hot long enough to make a difference (as opposed to hot wash cloths). For milder cases of dry eye the DERM mask is a great alternative.

  • Tea tree oil based foam cleansers are also recommended for blepharitis management. These are quite popular in our clinic because THEY WORK. Our patients have had life changing success combatting blepharitis, rosacea and eczema. The tea tree oil helps to clean the base of the eyelashes and glands and get rid of the unwanted bacteria that can make their home on the eyelids. One study found 100% of patients who started a tea tree oil lid wash noticed an improvement in symptoms, signs and tear film stability (source)

  • For patients who are struggling on a daily basis with severe dry eye symptoms we always recommend our Lipiflow service. LipiFlow is the gold standard in 'resetting' these important glands that create our tears and keep our eyes comfortable. It has been shown to last for at least 1 year in patients who maintain a dry eye regimen. For more information on LipiFlow click HERE.

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