Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids which causes irritation, itching, and occasionally a red eye. It is a common condition that may episodic (i.e. related to new makeup ) or chronic associated with certain skin diseases; such as, rosacea. Blepharitis can begin in early childhood producing “granulated eyelids,” continue through life as a chronic condition or it may develop in later life. There may be a loss of eyelashes and distortion to the margins of the eyelids, which can cause chronic tearing. It may appear in one of two ways:

SEBORRHEIC BLEPHARITIS is characterized by redness of the lids, scales and flaking around the eyelashes. It is often associated with dandruff of the scalp.

ULCERATIVE BLEPHARITIS is a more severe condition cased by bacteria and is characterized by matted hard crusts around the eyelashes which upon removal leave small ulcers that may bleed or ooze. The white part of the eye may turn red. In severe cases, the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) may become inflamed.

In view of the longterm nature of the condition, strict eyelid hygiene is necessary. We recommend baby shampoo (less tearing) lid scrubs followed by hot compresses on a daily basis until the irritation is relieved. After comfort is achieved, maintenance lid scrubs on a less frequent basis is necessary to prevent recurrent irritation. Treatment of oily scalp with anti-dandruff shampoos (Selsun Blue™) may also be helpful.

The following regimen may be useful:

  • Fill a drinking glass with warm water.
  • Add one capful of baby shampoo.
  • Soak a clean cotton ball (or Q-tips) in the solution.
  • Gently scrub the eyelashes of all 4 eyelids.
  • Rinse with warm tap water and dry with a clean towel.
  • Place a warm compress against the eyelid for 15 minutes.
  • Use medications as directed.

In more severe cases, various antibiotics and even cortisone preparations may be necessary to alleviate the condition. Once the acute phase is controlled, lid hygiene, as described above, and the use of bland ointments may be sufficient to maintain control of blepharitis.
If your eyelid irritation persists or progresses, please return for a followup examination. If you have any questions or concerns, please do no hesitate to contact our office!