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Blepharitis

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an eye condition which causes the rim of the eyelids to become swollen, red and itchy. It is not typically serious and can be treated by regularly cleaning the eyelids, although if left untreated, it can result in issues such as dry eyes, conjunctivitis and other conditions.

What is blepharitis?

A common eye condition, blepharitis can develop in people of any age but most commonly occurs in over 50s and young children. It typically affects both eyes, causing inflammation of the eyelids, as well as soreness, redness and swelling.

There are two types of blepharitis: anterior and posterior. Anterior blepharitis affects the outer area of the eyelid and eyelashes, whereas posterior blepharitis is caused by issues in the oil glands and occurs inside the eyelid. It is possible to experience both forms of blepharitis at the same time.

Blepharitis is usually chronic and can reoccur in repeated episodes. It can result in other eye conditions if not treated properly. Although it can be uncomfortable, blepharitis does not cause serious or permanent damage to vision. It is not contagious and can normally be treated by cleaning the eyelids on a daily basis.

Blepharitis symptoms

Many people with the condition experience the symptoms of blepharitis in repeated episodes, with the symptoms coming and going. Blepharitis symptoms can include:

  • Soreness and swelling of the eyelids
  • A stinging, burning or gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes and eyelids
  • Red eyes and eyelids
  • Crustiness and flakiness of the skin around the eyelash root
  • Sticking of the eyelids when waking up

Blepharitis may also cause sensitivity to light, increased frequency of blinking and may lead to the development of chalazions on the eyelid. Those who experience blepharitis may also experience a dry eye condition where not enough tears are produced.

Although not usually serious, blepharitis can be uncomfortable, so wearing contact lenses and applying eye makeup should be avoided when you have symptoms. It’s important to seek treatment for blepharitis as soon as possible to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the risk of other conditions developing.

What causes blepharitis?

Blepharitis causes are not always clear and may require tests and examination before a blepharitis diagnosis can be given. Common causes of blepharitis can include a reaction to a type of bacteria that naturally lives on the skin. While this bacteria is normal, too much can cause the condition to develop. This is not contagious and cannot be passed onto others.

Another cause of blepharitis are certain skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, rosacea and acne. You may be at higher risk of developing blepharitis if you suffer from these conditions. Additionally, blepharitis can occur due to oil glands around the eyelid becoming clogged.

Blepharitis treatment options

Unfortunately, there is no blepharitis cure. However, there are options for blepharitis treatment at home which can help to alleviate and prevent the condition. You should establish a regular routine to clean your eyelids, as this will prevent recurrence of blepharitis.

Soak cotton wool or a clean flannel in warm water and leave this on your eye for around 10 minutes. After this time, massage your eyelids gently for about 30 seconds before using cotton wool to clean your eyelids. You should do this at least once a day. You may also benefit from applying artificial tear drops if your eyes feel dry.

If you suffer from more severe blepharitis, you should consult a pharmacist, who may recommend special blepharitis wipes and pads or blepharitis eye drops to help clean your eyelids. If your symptoms do not improve after a few weeks of this cleaning routine, you should see a GP. They may suggest further treatment for blepharitis, including special antibiotic ointment or eye drops for blepharitis. In some cases, steroid eye drops may also be recommended.

Antibiotic tablets may be prescribed if other treatments don’t see improvements within six weeks, or if the blepharitis is associated with a skin condition.

Reasons to choose Moorfields Private for treatment for blepharitis

If you have already tried blepharitis treatment at home and need further advice, guidance and testing, then you can rely on Moorfields Private for the highest quality of care. Our specialist eye hospital has an excellent reputation and we work with world-renowned surgeons working at the very top of their profession.

All our surgeons hold accredited consultant positions at the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and you can choose the right consultant for you. You will benefit from a service with complete continuity, with your preferred surgeon overseeing every aspect of your treatment. To make an appointment with one of our consultants, please call our New Patients Team on Freephone: 0800 3283 421 or Email: moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net.

Further information

To find out more information on blepharitis and related conditions, you can read our recommended articles below:

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