What Is Blepharitis And How Is It Treated?

If you have woken up to red, itchy and crusted eyelids, you might have blepharitis. This is a common condition, but also one that needs to be treated. Here is more information about blepharitis and the treatment options that are available.

How do you know you have blepharitis?

The first thing you should know is how to recognize the signs and symptoms of blepharitis. This condition is sometimes confused with pink eye, so it helps to know the range of symptoms you should be looking for. If you have blepharitis, you may be experiencing:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Flaky eyelids
  • Eyelid thickening
  • Stinging or burning sensations
  • Dry eyes

What are the causes?

Blepharitis is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection, though that infection can develop in a number of different ways. It is often from your skin or someone else's. If you come into contact with someone with a bacterial infection, then rub your eye, you are at a greater risk for developing blepharitis. You are also at a higher risk of you have an autoimmune disorder, as this puts you at risk for developing infections more easily. There may also be extra bacterial growth around your eyelashes, which can lead to the condition.

How is it treated?

If you have determined that you have blepharitis, there are a few different treatment options available. Here are the ones to be aware of:

Home treatments - If you want to treat it at home, you should be sure to always keep your eyes and hands clean. Don't try to rub your eyes with this condition, or poke at the eyelids, as this can worsen the irritation. While at home, apply warm compresses to your eyelids a few times a day. You should also use a gentle eyelid scrub about once a day. This can be done simply by adding some gentle baby shampoo to a washcloth with warm water and rubbing it on your eyelids. Make sure you rinse well.

Medical treatments – The first thing your doctor will do is examine your eye, then if you are diagnosed with blepharitis, will prescribe an antibiotic. This may be topical or an ointment that also includes a steroid in it. You may get a combination of ointments and drops to apply to your eyes several times a day. If these medications don't work, your doctor (such as Dr. Douglas DenBak and Associates) might suggest a stronger series of antibiotics or a new hygiene wash to prevent it from returning.