Face & Eye Cosmetic Surgery
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Blepharitis

BLEPHARITIS

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a very common inflammation of the eyelids. Bacteria which normally live on our skin are attracted to crusts around the base of the eyelashes and produce chemicals which irritate the eye causing symptoms of itching, irritation and burning. Special tear glands, called meibomian glands, which are located in the eyelids, become blocked. Since these glands help to make our tears and prevent them from evaporating too quickly, blepharitis results in the production of abnormal tears. This is not a lack of tears, but tears which are of poor quality. Blepharitis is often associated with skin problems such as dandruff and dermatitis.

How do I know if I have blepharitis?

The edges (rims) of the eyelids are red and the eyelashes are stuck together by tiny crusts. The whites of the eyes are often red and sore. In the mornings the eyelids stick together, sometimes with a yellow discharge.

These changes cause the eyes to be sore and irritable, with a gritty foreign body feeling. Watering due to the reflex production of excess tears is common.

Is it serious?

No, it is not serious, and only very rarely causes any permanent damage to the eyes. However, blepharitis is a very persistent problem. (Blepharitis which is confined to the eyelid(s) on one side only should however be viewed with suspicion as very rare tumours can mimic blepharitis and lead to misdiagnosis).

Can it be treated?

Yes, though treatment usually can only control the problem and cannot eradicate it altogether.

What is the treatment?

The chief treatment is massage of the eyelids, using Blephasol,  Blephaclean® Wipes and an EyeBag and artificial tear substitutes.

What is the purpose of the EyeBag

The “Eye Bag” is specially designed to improve meibomian gland function and to sooth the symptoms.

How often should I do this?

Depending on how bad your blepharitis is, you may need to massage the eyelids at least twice a day regularly.

Is that all I have to do?

In addition to regular massage, an antibiotic ointment e.g. Chloramphenicol, rubbed into the lashes at night, can clear the infection. A course of ointment, usually for a month, can be repeated several times a year. Ointments/drops containing steroids should not be used unless prescribed by an ophthalmologist.

Since blepharitis causes tears to be abnormal, artificial tears can give relief from irritation, even when your eyes are watering (eyes can water as a reflex reaction to a basic dry eye problem or tear film abnormality). These should be used 3-4 times a day at least to prevent symptoms rather than to just relieve symptoms. There is a large variety of artificial tear preparations to choose from:

Hyabak drops, Systane drops preservative free, Blink Tears.

Lacrilube ointment is very effective, particularly when used at bedtime but it can cause blurring of vision in the morning.

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