Medically Reviewed by Dr. Elisabeth Vincent Hamelin
What is Blepharitis
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margins, with redness, swelling, crusting, scales, ulcers. There are two types of blepharitis: an ulcerative, caused by a bacterial infection (staphylococcal, almost always) and a non-ulcerative (scaly) whose causes are not known but which is often associated with seborrhea of the face and scalp (dandruff) or it may be allergic in nature.
How it manifests itself
The first manifestation is a foreign body sensation in the eye with tearing and sensitivity to light. Itching, redness and swelling of the eyelid margins are present. It is possible to have eyelash loss. In ulcerative blepharitis there are crusts that tend to bleed when they are removed. Pustules can form at the base of the eyelashes. During sleep the eyelids stick together because of the secretions that come out and dry out. In non-ulcerative blepharitis, oily scales form on the eyelid margin.
What are the risks
Blepharitis treatment is difficult. Both forms are subject to repetition over time and tend to become chronic. If not treated correctly, eyelid loss and scarring may occur on the eyelids and, in severe cases, also corneal ulceration.
What should be done
- It is a good idea not to rub or touch your eyes.
- The eyelids should be washed in the morning and evening with warm salty water. Two or three times a day gauze compresses soaked in warm water for twenty minutes should be applied. The eyes should be washed often, drying them with a clean towel.
- The crusts must be removed regularly using gauze soaked in a sodium bicarbonate solution (a tea spoonful in half a liter of boiled water).
- In the case of squamous blepharitis, it is often necessary to also treat facial seborrhea and scalp dandruff.
- Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic-based ophthalmic ointment.
When to seek medical attention
A medical examination is always appropriate. Contact your doctor again if:
- the eyes hurt;
- the view has changed;
- new symptoms have appeared;
- the disorder lasts for more than two weeks.