General Illness Information


Medical Term: None Specified


Infection or inflammation of the margins or edges of the eyelids. It can affect eyelids, eyelashes, meibomian glands (lubricating glands of the eyelid) or conjunctiva (whites of the eyes).


Blepharitis can be cause by the following: Bacterial infection, usually staphylococcal, of the eyelash follicles and the meibomian glands; Allergic reaction (less serious- inflammation only); Body lice (rare).


Wash hands often, and dry with clean towels. Avoid environments that contain dust or other irritating substances. Use hypoallergenic eye makeup.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Gritty burning sensation in the eyes and eyelids.
  • On awakening, lid margins are swollen, red, irregular, and crusted.
  • Red eyes- may be itchy.

Risk Factors

  • Adults over 60.
  • Exposure to chemical or environmental irritants.
  • Medical history of seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp and other body parts.
  • Crowded or unsanitary living conditions.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Immunosuppression due to illness or medication.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Acne rosacea.

Diagnosis & Treatment

General Measures:

  • Place warm washcloth over closed eyelids for five minutes to soften the crusts.
  • Moisten a Q-Tip in a solution of 3 oz. Water and 3 drops of baby shampoo, and scrub the closed lids.
  • Rinse the solution from the lids with clear water.
  • Brush off lid margin with a clean dry Q-Tip.
  • Do this twice daily.
  • Also do not wear eye makeup or contact until condition improves.


  • Antibiotic ointment or eye drops, which may contain cortisone drugs may be prescribed.
  • Oral medication may be prescribed in severe cases such as with acne rosacea.


No restrictions.


No special diet.

Possible Complications:

  • Loss of eyelashes.
  • Ulceration of the cornea (covering of the eye).
  • Scarred eyelids.
  • Stye.
  • Misdirected eyelash growth.


Blepharitis is stubbornly resistant to treatment, but it is sometimes curable in 8 to 12 months. Recurrence is common.

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