Blepharitis is the irritation of the eyelids. It has different causes that range from infections, allergies, irritation and even skin cancers. This is considered as the most common eye disease. In most cases, the inflammation is only an annoyance and typically responds well to treatment options.
Causes of blepharitis
The eyelid inflammation can be caused by bacteria, inflammation, tumors, allergies, environmental conditions and even linked to a systemic disease.
- Allergic blepharitis results to increased shedding of the skin cells close to the eyelids
- Infectious or ulcerative blepharitis usually results to greenish or yellowish discharge
- The condition can be due to systemic medical conditions or certain types of skin cancers.
- The allergic type can be caused by irritants that are present in the atmosphere or certain medications.
Symptoms of blepharitis
The condition typically causes a variety of symptoms such as irritation, itchiness, burning and a sensation that there is something in the eye. As for the eyelids, they can become red and usually have ulcerative areas that have the tendency to bleed.
- Warmth, redness and swelling can be noted in advanced cases of the condition
- Vision is normal but there is minimal tear film that results to blurred vision causing fluctuations in the vision throughout the day.
- Eyelid matting, flaking or gluing of the lashes
- In the infectious type, there is yellowish or greenish discharge or fluid that results to the sticking of the eyelids in the morning.
- In some cases, the condition can localize in the skin of the eyelids resulting to a sty or chalazion. Once it does not respond to medical treatment, an incision is required for drainage.
- Increased tear production
When to seek medical care
It is important to seek medical care if the irritation is bothersome and the symptoms do not improve after the use of warm compresses. Since blepharitis does not affect the vision, any changes in the vision would require immediate evaluation by an ophthalmologist. In general, you have to consult an ophthalmologist if these symptoms develop:
- Changes in vision
- Eye pain
- Symptoms lasting for more than 2 weeks
- New or changed symptoms
- There is a sore in the eyelid that persists or increases in size, bleeding, red in color and does not heal
If the individual experiences an abrupt change in vision, you can take him/her to the emergency department at the nearest hospital. Take note that a sudden loss of vision is considered as a medical emergency.
Treatment for blepharitis
Always remember that proper eyelid care is enough as a treatment. As a first aid measure, it is important that the individual will not use contact lenses or eye makeup until the condition has cleared. Once the condition has fully cleared, daily eyelid care must be observed.
- Application of warm moist compresses on the affected eyelid for 10-20 minutes four times a day to minimize discomfort. Make sure that a clean wash towel is used for cleansing and instruct the individual to avoid scratching or rubbing his/her eyes.
- With a cotton swab moistened with dilute baby shampoo, cleanse carefully the lid margins in the morning and before bedtime.
- Apply artificial tears to provide comfort to the eyes.