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Blepharitis  back to conditions

This leaflet explains what Blepharitis is and how it can be treated  

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margins, where the lashes grow. It is a common problem and can lead to red, sore eyelids, irritation, burning, grittiness and sometimes a dry crusty discharge on the eyelashes. Blepharitis interferes with the spread of the tear film on the front of the eye. Dry patches can develop due to the rapid break up of the tear film and this can also cause burning and discomfort, increased blinking and often watering of the eye. 

What causes Blepharitis?

There are several possible causes, which include:

    Skin disorders

    Chemical irritants

    Infection

    A build up of greasy/oily secretions on the eyelid margin leading to inflammation.  

What treatment will I need? 

Regular lid hygiene is the most important part of prevention and treatment should be done daily as follows: 

Hot Compresses:

Carefully soak a flannel in fairly hot water that you are able to withstand without burning yourself and hold it against closed eyes for 5 -10 minutes (you may need to re-warm your cloth repeatedly). This will not only feel good, but it will make the lid oil easier to remove. Never share flannels with others. 

Cleaning:

Use a cotton bud soaked in solution A or B and clean the edge of your eyelids carefully scrubbing the eyelash root several times. (Almost like applying eyeliner).Some people find this easier using a mirror. 

Solution A

    A teaspoon of baby shampoo (no tears) in a cup of cooled boiled water

    Mixed well

    Prepared fresh daily

Solution B

    Dissolve a quarter teaspoon of Sodium Bicarbonate to a cup of cooled boiled water.

    Mix thoroughly

    Prepare fresh daily.  

Or

A few drops of baby shampoo on the palm of your hand brought to a lather and massaged directly into the eye lashes, then washed off well.  

Or

Alternatively, Lid Care are available at chemists and opticians.  Follow the directions given by the manufacturer.  

Antibiotic ointment:  may be prescribed and if it is, wash your hands, place a small amount of ointment on your fingertips and rub into the lid margin. This should be done after carrying out lid hygiene.  

Antibiotic Tablets:  In some severe cases we give a course of oral Doxycycline for 3-6 months to improve the quality of the tear film and blepharitis. 

Artificial Tears: may help if you develop dry eyes and improve symptoms of grittiness and soreness. For further advice on the eye drops see your local pharmacist or G.P. Having followed the steps outlined above, we would expect the redness and irritation to start improving after approximately 8 weeks. Perseverance with lid hygiene gives the best results, to stop treatment altogether will probably result in a recurrence of the problems. In some severe cases, further management may be required under the supervision of an ophthalmologist.