Written by: Jacci, Published: 30 April 2019
Blepharitis is an inflammatory eye condition that affects the eyelids; often appearing as dry dandruff like flakes around the eyelashes.
It’s a very common condition which is caused by bacteria and contrary to some beliefs is not contagious. Although eyes can become sore and red, it does not cause any damage to eyesight.
Blepharitis is categorised into two types:
It is most common for children and individuals aged over 50 to experience symptoms of blepharitis. One of the reasons for this is due to the natural aging of the eye. In these cases the glands in the eyelids can become blocked causing the eyes to feel gritty and dry.
It is hard to pinpoint a main cause of blepharitis; however simple factors such as allergic reactions to cosmetics or experiencing dandruff on the scalp can be related to the onset of the condition.
There are several factors that contribute to blepharitis. These include:
For many people, blepharitis causes only minor irritation and itching. However, in some cases it can cause more severe symptoms, such as blurry vision, missing eyelashes and inflammation of other eye tissue, such as the cornea.
By scratching and rubbing the affected area, secondary symptoms may occur. It’s advised to try and keep the area untouched and clean as much as possible.
Blepharitis symptoms and signs include:
In most cases, good hygiene can help control blepharitis. Washing the scalp and face regularly, using a warm compress to gently soak the eyelids is good practise to keep inflammation down.
When a bacterial infection accompanies blepharitis however, antibiotics will be required.
Typically, blepharitis treatments include:
For those who rely on visual aids on a daily basis should be aware of the complications associated with blepharitis.
Wearing contact lenses when eyelid inflammation occurs can result in a build-up of bacteria and in turn cause potentially more serious eye conditions to develop.
When blepharitis strikes, contact lenses should be avoided until the symptoms have cleared.