Blepharitis

General Illness Information

Common Name: BLEPHARITIS

Medical Term: None Specified

Description:

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).

Causes:

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).

Prevention:

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.

Medications:

  • 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.

Activity:

No restrictions.

Diet:

No special diet.

Possible Complications:

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

Prognosis

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

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