Blepharitis

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a common and persistent inflammation of the eyelids.  Symptoms include irritation, itching, crusting of the eyelids, and occasionally, a red eye.  

This condition frequently occurs in people who have a tendency towards oily skin, dandruff, or dry eyes.  Blepharitis can begin in early childhood, producing granulated eyelids, and continue throughout life as a chronic condition, or develop later in life. 

Bacteria resides on the surface of everyone's skin, but in certain individuals they thrive in the skin at the base of the eyelashes.  The resulting irritation, sometimes associated with overactivity of the nearby oil glands, causes dandruff-like scales and particles to form along the lashes and eyelid margins. 

In blepharitis, both upper and lower eyelids become coated with oily debris and bacteria near the base of the eyelashes.  The eye feels irritated and may become inflamed.  Regular, thorough cleansing of the lid margin helps control blepharitis.  

The treatment for blepharitis includes:
  1. Using a hot compress on the eyelids for 5 minutes every night (a clean washcloth with hot tap water is adequate) 
  2. Washing the lid margins with a mixture of baby shampoo mixed in equal parts with water (keep your eyes closed and wash with a clean washcloth) followed by a cool water rinse
  3. Applying an antibiotic ointment to the eyelash and lid margin (this can be done with fingers or a Q-tip)
This should be done every night for the first week or two.  After the symptoms start to improve, this procedure can be done once or twice a week or whenever necessary.  

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