Written by Dr. Rashida Shabbir Tankiwala , Diplomate of National Board (DNB) | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nithin Jayan, MBBS, DNB on Oct 21, 2020

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is chronic inflammation of the eye lash follicles resulting in the eyelids becoming red and irritated, with scales that stick to the base of the eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder caused by either bacterial or a skin condition such as dandruff of the scalp or acne rosacea. It affects people of all ages.

Hot fomentation over the lids with a clean cloth dipped in warm water is done 2-3 times a day. This helps to loosen the crusts. These loose crusts are cleansed with a baby shampoo (since its mild) or lid cleansing products.

The eyelids may need to be massaged to clean out oil accumulated in the eyelid glands. Use of an anti-dandruff shampoo on the scalp can help. Limiting or stopping the use of eye makeup is often recommended, as its use will make lid hygiene more difficult. If you wear contact lenses, you may have to temporarily discontinue wearing them during treatment.

Blepharitis seldom disappears completely. Even with successful treatment, relapses may occur.

Blepharitis: crusting seen at the base of the eye lashes

Directions for a Warm Soak of the Eyelids:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Moisten a clean cloth with warm water.
  3. Close eyes and place washcloth on eyelids for about 5 minutes, reheating the washcloth as necessary.
  4. Repeat several times daily.

Directions for an Eyelid Scrub:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  2. Mix warm water and a small amount of non-irritating baby shampoo or use a commercially prepared lid scrub solution recommended by your eye doctor.
  3. Using a clean cloth rub the solution back and forth across the eyelashes and edge of the closed eyelid.
  4. Rinse with water.
  5. Repeat with the other eye.

References:

  1. Jonathan J. Dutton, Gregg S. Gayre, Alan D. Proia: Diagnostic Atlas of common eyelid diseases
  2. David A. Lee, Eve J. Higginbotham: Clinical guide to comprehensive ophthalmology
  3. The Merks Manuals: Online Medical Library

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