Blepharitis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help
Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelids wherein the hair follicles of eyelash get repeatedly inflamed. This inflammation commonly affects the outer edge of the eyelids and is termed as anterior blepharitis. Posterior blepharitis is rare and affects the inner edge of eyelids.
Blepharitis: Incidence, age and sex
Blepharitis is a very common occurrence worldwide and can affect any age group. However it is more frequently seen in individuals of more than 40 years of age.
Signs and symptoms of blepharitis: Diagnosis
The clinical signs and symptoms of blepharitis are quite typical and include redness of the eye, a gritty sensation, irritation and itching of the eyes. Some individuals may experience sticking of the eyelids, especially after waking up in the morning. Crust formations may also be seen along the edge of eyelids. Some individuals with long standing blepharitis may be extremely sensitive to bright light. This is an inflammatory condition and not infectious. It does not spread from person to person. No tests are needed to diagnose this condition. It can be easily diagnosed by a comprehensive eye examination by a specialist.
Causes and prevention of blepharitis
There are several causes of blepharitis of which bacterial infection and dryness of the eye are the commonest. Other risk factors predisposing to blepharitis are dryness of skin and scalp, also called seborrhoeic dermatitis. Moreover, blepharitis seems to be frequently associated with acne, styes and chalazion. All the aforementioned factors usually lead to development of anterior blepharitis which affects the outer edge of eyelids. Very rarely, increased production of oil from Meibomian glands of the eyes may result in inflammation of the inner edge of the eyelids, also called posterior blepharitis.
Blepharitis is a harmless condition but may result in complications, if left untreated. This inflammation of eyelids, if left untreated may spread to conjunctiva resulting in conjunctivitis. It may also damage the cornea which is the transparent cover over the outer part of eye and end up in corneal ulcer. Occasionally, longstanding blepharitis may eventually lead to loss of the eyelashes.
Blepharitis seems to be a chronic problem with no permanent cure in store. This is an ongoing problem with periods of waxing and waning; thus requiring long-term treatment. The treatment chiefly includes hygiene measures along with eye drops. The affected individual is advised for warm compress of the eyes which need to be done several times a day for many days. Lid scrubs available commercially are then used to remove crusts and debris from eyes. Regular eye massage may help in preventing pooling of oils, thereby preventing posterior blepharitis. Hygiene measures not only of the eyes but also of the face and the scalp may help in minimizing such recurrences. Other measures like avoidance of make up and contact lenses during infection are advisable. Consult a specialist for management of associated conditions like acne.