Blepharitis is a common and persistent inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis occurs most frequently in people with oily skin and in those afflicted by dandruff. Symptoms include irritation, dryness, burning, and red eye. Styes (small red bumps) and loss of lashes are also possible if the blepharitis is left untreated or poorly managed.
What causes blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a chronic, degenerative condition affecting the oil glands of the eyelid and is commonly associated with inflammation, dry eye and an overgrowth of the normal bacteria. Rosacea is often co-existent.
Why do my eyes sometimes feel watery?
Blepharitis can disrupt your normal protective tear film and exacerbate your symptoms of dry eye. Ironically, people with dry eye often feel that their eyes are overly watery. This occurs because the inflammation and irritation leads to excessive reflex tearing.
Can blepharitis be cured?
Unfortunately, blepharitis is a chronic condition that cannot be cured but only controlled. Blepharitis requires daily attention and care. Proper and ongoing cleaning is the single most important element to reduce unwanted symptoms. Topical and oral antibiotics and other topical medications may be necessary in severe cases. Regular oral omega-3 supplements are also thought to help.
How do I clean my eyelids?
Daily cleaning for blepharitis involves warm compresses and lid scrubs. The warm compresses are done to soften and loosen the debris causing your blepharitis. The lid scrubs are done to remove the loosened debris. Lid cleaning should be performed one to two times daily. Eyelid massage and meibomian gland expression may also be recommended.
STEP 1 Moisten a clean towel with warm water. Soak eyelids for 5-10 minutes. Remember to keep your eye shut during application. Wet the towel again as needed to keep it warm and moist.
Another method of keeping the towel warm is by heating a stocking filled with dry rice in the microwave and then wrapping the wet towel around. Make sure it is not too hot though!
STEP 2 Apply a mild soap such as a Neutrogena Bar Soap or Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (diluted 1:1 with water) to your finger. Make sure you hands are thoroughly cleaned prior to application..
STEP 3 In front of a mirror gently rub your finger back and forth over your eyelid margins for 1 minute then rinse your face with water. Repeat once again then pat your eye dry with a clean towel. If your doctor prescribed antibiotic drops or ointment, they are added at this point.
Alternatively, for STEPS 2 to 3 a drugstore bought eyelid cleansing pad can be used.
View the videos below for demonstrations of eyelid cleaning and additional information on blepharitis.