What is Blepharitis?

An eye test with a KODAK Lens Opticians will give you a complete eye check up not just to check your vision but to make sure that your eyes are healthy. Blepharitis is a common eye condition that causes the edges of your eyelids to become red and swollen. It can develop at any age and commonly affects both males and females. It is possible for Blepharitis to affect one eye more than the other. You may find that symptoms of Blepharitis are worse in the morning.

What are the symptoms of Blepharitis?

  • The main symptom is itchy, sore or red eyelids that stick together
  • Crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • Burning or gritty sensations in the eyes
  • An increase in sensitivity to light
  • Edges of eyelids becoming inflamed
  • Abnormal eyelash growth or, in severe cases, loss of eyelashes
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses

Blepharitis is not contagious, but it can be very uncomfortable.

You may not be aware that there are three main types of Blepharitis:

  • Anterior Blepharitis, where the inflammation is sited around the base of your eyelashes
  • Posterior Blepharitis, where the inflammation affects the glands behind the base of the eyelashes
  • Mixed Blepharitis, a combination of the above

What causes Blepharitis?

Commonly, the cause of Blepharitis is linked to:

  • A reaction to Staphylococcus bacteria. This bacteria live innocently on most people’s skin, but for unknown reasons causes eyelids to become inflamed.
  • Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, a condition that causes skin to become flaky or oily. This causes the gland at the edge of the eyelid to become blocked.

How is Blepharitis treated?

The treatment of Blepharitis is aimed at managing the symptoms, as the condition cannot usually be cured and is treated as a long-term condition. Most people who suffer from Blepharitis experience periods without symptoms in between flare-ups.

If you experience a severe flare-up, you may need antibiotics. This is something that you should discuss with your optometrist who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Having a daily eyelid hygiene routine is one way that you can help to alleviate the symptoms of Blepharitis and prevent flare-ups. There are three generally recommended steps, which should be done twice a day.

  1. Apply a warm, soft compress to your closed eye to soften and dilute the oil produced by the glands around your eye.

2. Gently massage your eyelid with clean fingers, to push the oils out of the glands.

3. Clean your eyelids to wipe away any excess oil and remove any crusts, bacteria, dust or grime that may have built up.

If you experience the sudden onset of symptoms, including severe symptoms, contact your optometrist or your GP immediately. If this is not possible, visit your nearest A&E.

If you experience persistent symptoms that are not being managed by a daily eyelid hygiene routine you should seek advice from your optometrist.

If you have any questions regarding Blepharitis or would like an eye check up, use our Optician Finder to locate and contact your nearest KODAK Lens Optician who will be able to offer you friendly, professional advice.

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