What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an eye-related condition where the edges of the eyelids turn red and swollen. The fact is, all people have bacteria on their skin. But, some people, have more bacteria at the base of the eyelashes, which causes flakes to form. Besides, some people even have problems with oil glands in their eyes, which causes Blepharitis.
A few of its common symptoms include swollen eyelids, red eyelids, and a feeling of burning. Blepharitis can also increase sensitivity to light, in rare cases. Moreover, one may also experience a discomfort in wearing contact lenses.
In a nutshell, it is very important to notice these symptoms and take the required action immediately. The symptoms tend to get worse, particularly in the mornings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Blepharitis
1. What causes dry/crusty eyelids?
Blepharitis and dry eyes go hand in hand.
A primary cause of Blepharitis is an overgrowth of bacteria that live on the margins of the eyelids and at the base of the eyelashes. These bacteria often create a structure called a biofilm.
It is the bacteria in this biofilm that produce substances that are known to cause exotoxins, which often causes inflammation of meibomian glands in the eyelid margins.
Inflammation of meibomian glands affects the quantity and quality of tears in the eyes. And, fewer tears mean dry/crusty eyelids.
2. What causes Blepharitis?
There are three main causes:
A: when the inflammation affects the skin around the base of the eyelashes, it often results into anterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis can also be caused due to a reaction to Staphylococcus bacteria.
B: when the inflammation affects the Meibomian glands, Posterior blepharitis is caused.
C: when the inflammation affects both, the Meibomian glands and the skin around the base of the eyelashes, a Mixed blepharitis is caused.
3. How are glands in my eyes blocked?
In the case of Posterior Blepharitis, glands get blocked by debris, skin flames, or inflammation.
4. Is there a cure for a Blepharitis?
Sadly, there is no permanent one-off cure for Blepharitis, as the inflammation recurs time and again. But, the good news is, with regular treatments, symptoms can be eased. All in all, take very good care of your eyelids.
5. Is Blepharitis genetics?
As yet no chromosomal regions identified by linkage studies yield proof of a genetic component involved. Having said that, there is circumstantial evidence available that favor genetic aetiology. This means there is a genetic predisposition for blepharitis, but it varies among ethnic groups.
6. What is Squamous Blepharitis?
Squamous blepharitis aka Seborrheic blepharitis is a part of a dermatologic condition that includes the face, scalp, and eyebrows. A few of the clinical signs include greasy and scaly eyelashes. Generally speaking, inflammation, in this case, is usually minimal.
7. How do I prevent Blepharitis?
There are plenty of ways to prevent blepharitis. First and foremost, keep your eyelids clean. Learn to remove all eye makeup before going to bed. If possible, avoid using makeup altogether. But, most importantly, never use an eyeliner on the back edges of the eyelids behind the lashes.
In addition, you can also include nutritional supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids to keep the meibomian glands healthy and keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
All in all, employ good hygiene techniques by avoiding things that cause or exaggerate the condition. Sometimes, dandruff contributes to causing blepharitis, and hence, it is useful to use an anti-dandruff shampoo to prevent blepharitis.
8. What antibiotics are used to treat Blepharitis?
If regular cleaning does not provide enough relief, then you may be prescribed a course of antibiotic ointments, creams, and eye drops. Usually, you will need four to six weeks to see its results.
As far as ointments and creams are concerned, they should be gently rubbed on the edge of the eyelids, usually several times in a day, with the help of a cotton bud of clean fingers.
You may be even prescribed low doses of antibiotics as anti-inflammatory agents for a minimum of three to four months. These antibiotics should be taken by mouth once or twice a day. Although most people respond very well within the first few weeks of the treatment, in a few cases, the course of the antibiotics may go up to three months.
9. Can Blepharitis affect your vision?
Due to inflammation of the cornea, ulceration, and scarring, it is possible that the eyesight may be affected due to Blepharitis. In such cases, it is advisable to see a doctor urgently.
10. How do I treat Blepharitis?
Before starting off with the treatment, it is imperative to visit an eye doctor in order to determine the cause of your sore and red eyelids. Once it is established that you do have blepharitis, then the correct type of treatment should be employed.
Broadly speaking, treatments include:
- Eyelid scrubs
The doctor will recommend a daily routine of warm compresses and lid scrubs to clean the eyelids and also reduce the amount of bacteria and Demodex mites on the eyelids. Prescribed eyelid cleansers and non-prescribed eyelid cleansing pads are usually the best cleaning agents.
- Medicated eye drops
In order to destroy excess blepharitis-causing bacteria and other microbes on the eyelids, your doctor may prescribe topical medicines.
Blepharitis is usually mild and doesn’t cause serious long-lasting damage to the eyes. It only creates discomfort, itchiness, and irritation in the eyes. But it is always better to visit an eye specialist to be double sure of its seriousness.
Moreover, one should always follow a strict eyelid hygiene routine as that will be very helpful in treating and controlling blepharitis. Remember, blepharitis is a chronic condition and it can come back frequently. The only way to stop blepharitis to keep coming back is by keeping the eyelids clean on a daily basis. Doing this will help to prevent the buildup of bacteria, biofilm and Demodex mites on the eyelid margin.
The health of your eyes is in your hands. Take care!