Below is information about the condition and how best to treat it. A PDF version is available at the bottom of the page.

What is it?

Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids. There are two types:

  1. Anterior blepharitis– this affects the area of the eyelids where the eyelashes sit.
  2. Posterior blepharitis– this affects the meibomian glands which produce part of the tears.

Blepharitis is common and GPs say it accounts for 5% of all eye problems they see.

For many people blepharitis is often a low level, but long term inflammation and many experience periods of time when there are no symptoms. However, inflammation can occur for long periods of time and may require treatment. While blepharitis can be quite uncomfortable, it is not usually a serious condition an vision is seldom affected. Blepharitis can also cause problems with the consistency of the tears which may lead to dry eye symptoms.

What causes it?

Blepharitis can result from bacterial infection, allergies, dysfunction of some of the glands within the eyelids, or can be a complication of skin conditions such as dermatitis. It can also be caused by:

  • exposure to chemicals
  • smoke
  • other pollutants or irritants

Most cases of blepharitis can be diagnosed by your Optometrist or General Practitioner by a description of your symptoms and carrying out an eye test.

What are the symptoms?

Blepharitis can affect both eyes, with eyelids becoming red and inflamed making your eyes feel irritated, dry, gritty, sore or itchy. Your tears may be affected with frothy, oily or greasy deposits appearing in them. Eyelids may become sticky, especially when waking up and you may notice an increased sensitivity to bright lights. Sometimes dandruff-like crusts appear on eyelashes. It can cause blurred vision in extreme cases, and wearing contact lenses may be uncomfortable. In severe cases it could lead to the loss of eyelashes and scarring of the eyelids, however this is extremely rare.

How is it treated?

Your Optometrist or doctor can spot the signs of Blepharitis by looking closely at your eyelids. Eyelid hygiene is the first line of management:

  • Use a dedicated lid cleaning solution for the best results (e.g. Blephasol/ Blephaclean or Lid-Care). Apply as per the instructions. This usually involves applying over the upper and lower lids several times, cleaning the area again with warm water and patting dry.
  • Warm compresses/masks pressed against the eyelids can help loosen crusts and soften the waxy build up from within the glands.
  • Avoid using make– up until symptoms have cleared. Replace the make-up from before to avoid contamination.
  • Severe cases may need antibiotics or tear supplements

Your Optometrist will give advice on which products to use. Avoid sharing towels etc. that come in contact with your face/eye area.

What can I excpect to happen?

Daily lid margin therapy will successfully treat blepharitis in most cases and minimize the risk of recurrence. If symptoms do not cease or are getting worse, consult your Optometrist.

Blepharitis is a condition which may come back even after treatment.

If you have any queries please feel free to contact us.