Blepharitis is usually a chronic condition in which the eyelids become inflamed, causing swelling, redness, tearing, itching, irritation, and other side effects involving discomfort. Blepharitis treatment is long-term and aims to keep eyelids and eyelashes clean and free of the residue that can cause inflammation.
There are two types of blepharitis, anterior and posterior, each with separate causes and treatment plans. Anterior blepharitis produces symptoms like redness and swelling on the outer eyelid, and is caused by bacteria or dandruff caught in the eyelashes. Posterior blepharitis affects the inside of the eyelid touching the eyeball. As with anterior blepharitis, trapped dandruff from the scalp may be one reason for this condition. Another may be the skin disorder acne rosacea, which produces inflammation and irritation. Once doctors determine which factors are at play, they can develop the most appropriate course of blepharitis treatment.
While the causes of anterior and posterior blepharitis may be different, the symptoms they produce are usually fairly similar. Regardless of which condition patients have, they will probably experience swelling, irritation, redness, tears, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, dry eye, a gritty sensation under the eyelids, or crust in the eyelashes (particularly on waking). Certain complications resulting from blepharitis can also help in diagnosing the condition. These include styes, soft red bumps appearing on the eyelids as a result of an infection of the oil glands. Chalazion, a condition characterized by one or more hard lumps on the eyelids, may also be an indication of blepharitis. Anyone experiencing these symptoms or complications should consult an ophthalmologist in order to determine which blepharitis treatment will work best.
In diagnosing blepharitis, doctors examine eyelids looking for symptoms like redness, irritation, and crust in the eyelashes. They also rule out other possible causes such as eye allergies, determine whether patients have anterior or posterior blepharitis, and devise a treatment plan to minimize the effects of the condition. In most cases, indications are clear enough to make a diagnosis possible in the course of a routine eye exam. For patients undergoing regular eye exams, it would be unlikely for blepharitis to go undetected, even if they were unaware of the symptoms themselves.
While blepharitis treatment is safe and effective, it can be time-consuming. Because the condition usually recurs throughout life, treatment constitutes an ongoing management of the condition. First, a warm compress (e.g., a washcloth soaked in warm water) is applied to the eyelids. This loosens the crust accruing around the eyes. The eyes are then cleansed of all extraneous material with warm water, salt water, or a combination of warm water and baby shampoo, depending on the patient’s condition. In some situations, doctors may recommend an over-the-counter solution to flush the eyes. When treatment begins, patients will probably have to repeat the cleansing process several times daily; eventually, however, treatment once a day should become the norm. In extreme cases, doctors may consider prescribing antibiotics or steroid eye drops.
Schedule an Eye Exam for Diagnosis of Blepharitis
If you are experiencing problems with your eyelids such as swelling, redness, irritation, a grainy sensation when you blink, or crust in your eyelashes upon waking, you should locate a qualified ophthalmologist in your area. Determining a course of blepharitis treatment will be relatively simple; and treatment can stop the condition from progressing and prevent potentially serious complications.