Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelid margins. Go through this article for some information about the condition and its treatment.
Blepharitis is one of the common eye conditions, that is characterized by inflammation of the eyelids, along with itching, redness, and irritation in the area. This eye problem can affect people of any age, but is more common in elderly.
There are two types of blepharitis – anterior and posterior. In case of anterior blepharitis, the outer margins of the eyelids get affected, whereas in posterior blepharitis, the meibomian glands, that are located on the inner margins of the eyelids are affected. Even though, blepharitis does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight, it is very difficult to cure this condition, and the treatment is mainly aimed to control it.
Causes and Symptoms
Blepharitis is often associated with other medical conditions like rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, trichiasis, conjunctivitis, chalazion, and keratitis. While systemic diseases, like rosacea can cause this condition; allergies and environmental factors can also contribute to blepharitis. It can also be associated with bacterial infection and eyelash mites.
The condition can be caused by malfunctioning of the oil glands located at the base of eyelashes. Symptoms include inflammation of the eyelids, itching, and irritation. The affected person may experience crusting of the lashes, watering, redness, sensitivity to light, gluing of eyelashes, foreign body sensation, pain, and burning sensation. Blepharitis is considered a chronic condition, that cannot be cured, but can be treated and controlled.
As eyelid inflammation can be caused by various factors, a careful examination of the eyes and eyelids is done by the ophthalmologist, so as to get the condition diagnosed. The medical history of the patient is also taken into consideration. Diagnosis is done using a slit lamp, that is used for examining the eyes. In some cases, the doctor may collect a sample of the oil or crust that is formed on the eyelid, so as to determine the presence of bacteria or fungi. If the condition is suspected to be caused by a systemic disease, then a complete evaluation may be required.
Once the person is diagnosed with blepharitis, then the course of treatment is decided, as per the underlying cause. However, good eyelid hygiene is one of the basic requirements for controlling blepharitis. The eyelids have to be kept free of crusts. This is achieved by loosening the crusts with warm compresses, and removing them with cotton swabs dipped in diluted baby shampoo solution.
Apart from keeping the eyelids clean, medication are required in some cases. Medicines are determined according to the nature of blepharitis. In case of bacterial infection, topical application of antibiotics is recommended. In some cases, oral antibiotics are also given. Sometimes, steroids may be prescribed, along with other medicines, so as to reduce the inflammation. If the problem is with the oil glands, testosterone eye creams are prescribed.
In case of fungal infection, anti fungal medications are used; and if the cause is allergy, then ocular antihistamines are prescribed. If the condition is caused by underlying diseases, like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis, the symptoms can be controlled by treating the underlying diseases. Flaxseed oil is claimed to be an effective natural treatment, especially for posterior blepharitis. However, there is no scientific backing for this claim.
Even though there is no cure for blepharitis, good eyelid hygiene, along with relevant treatment will be sufficient to control the condition. However, self medication should be strictly avoided. This is one of those eye problems that can recur.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.