What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids, typically affecting the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow. It occurs when the oil glands near the base of the eyelashes become clogged, which leads to red and irritated eyes and can cause additional symptoms. Your glands can become clogged for a variety of reasons, but the most common include bacteria, dandruff, and allergies from things such as eye makeup or contact lens solutions.
It is a common eye condition and can affect anyone at any age. Some people who have an excess of bacteria and oil on their eyelids and at the base of their lashes may find themselves dealing with chronic cases of blepharitis, which requires more routine treatment.
How is Blepharitis Diagnosed?
At New Jersey Eye Center, we diagnose your condition with an eye exam. If necessary, we will also swab your eyelid to check for bacteria and other potential causes of blepharitis. We will work with you to develop a custom treatment plan that will reduce your symptoms and get you back to a normal quality of life.
What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?
It can affect people in different ways. The common symptoms of the condition can include:
- Watery eyes
- Dry eyes
- Red, irritated and itchy eyes
- Burning or stinging of the eyes
- Flaking of the skin (dandruff) around the eyes
- Eyelashes that are “crusted” upon waking or sticky throughout the day
- Abnormal growth of the eyelashes
How Do I Treat Blepharitis?
Currently, there is no cure for blepharitis, but there are treatments available to control the condition. For mild cases of blepharitis, many simple remedies and lifestyle routine changes can help reduce some of the irritation and swelling that comes along with the condition. Some of those remedies may include taking care to keep the eyes clean, using certain over the counter treatments, and avoiding possible irritants. Overall, maintaining good skin and eye hygiene can help reduce and prevent blepharitis symptoms.
When Should I See My Doctor?
For more serious cases of blepharitis, home remedies may not be enough. It’s important to talk to one of our professionals at the New Jersey Eye Center if you feel you may be suffering from it. We may recommend stronger treatments which may include:
- Medications to fight infection, which can include creams and eye drops. Should your symptoms persist, an oral medication may be recommended.
- Medications to control inflammation, including steroid creams and eye drops to reduce inflammation and provide relief from symptoms.
- Treatments for underlying conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea, or other diseases that may be contributing to or causing blepharitis.
While may cause uncomfortable symptoms and appear unsightly, the condition usually doesn’t cause permanent damage to your vision. If you feel you have any symptoms that may be caused by blepharitis, you should take them seriously and seek medical help to avoid further complications. If left untreated, it can lead to:
- Loss of eyelashes
- Eyelid scarring
- Excessively uncomfortable dry eyes
- Inability to wear contact lenses comfortably
- Styes and chronic pink eye
- Injury to the cornea
If you are experiencing symptoms of blepharitis, contact the New Jersey Eye Center to get started on the road to recovery.