What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids, usually caused by an excess
growth of bacteria that is ordinarily found on the skin, and occasionally caused by allergies.
Blepharitis is a common eye condition, causing the eyelids to be reddened,
itchy and somewhat swollen and scaly appearing at the base of the eyelashes. As
scales become coarser, the surface of the eye becomes irritated and forms
crusts, which may cause the lids to stick together when you wake up in the
morning. If this crust falls into your eye, you may feel like you have
"something in your eye" or experience a gritty sensation.
How is blepharitis treated?
Blepharitis cannot be cured; however, it can be treated and controlled
through proper eyelid hygiene. Left untreated, blepharitis can develop into a
more serious condition such as scarring or injury to the eye’s tissue.
If you have blepharitis, take the steps listed below to help treat and cleanse your eye:
- Take a clean washcloth and wet it in very warm water. Wring the
washcloth and place it over the closed eyelids for five minutes. Re-wet as
necessary to maintain desired temperature. This will help to soften crusts
and loosen oily debris.
- Place the warm, wet washcloth over the index finger and apply a
diluted solution of 50 percent baby shampoo or mild soap.
- Cleanse one eye at a time, closing the eye you are cleansing,
and rubbing the washcloth or your finger over the eyelashes and lid margins
several times using horizontal strokes.
- Rinse thoroughly with a clean, warm, wet washcloth. Pat dry.
How do I prevent blepharitis?
There are many everyday steps that you can take to prevent blepharitis. These include:
- Keeping your hands and face clean
- Avoiding rubbing your eyes with dirty fingers, a soiled handkerchief, etc.
- Removing all eye makeup before bedtime
- Wiping any excess tears or eyedrops from your eyelashes
If you are in the early stages of treating blepharitis, avoid the use of eye
makeup to prevent further irritation. Once you begin using makeup again, replace
any liquid products because your old products may be contaminated.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 10/20/2009…#10032