Our eyelashes and eyelids are the first line of defense for our eyes – protecting them from debris in the air and keeping rain or sweat out. They also provide some relief from harsh sunlight. Our eyelids put up with a lot of abuse from the outside world, so it’s no surprise that they sometimes get irritated and infected. This inflammation of the eyelids is called blepharitis.
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is the name of a common condition where eyelids become inflamed and irritated. It can be caused by dry eyes, a bacterial infection, a fungal infection, dysfunction of the glands in your eyelids, or parasites like eyelash mites. It also occurs frequently with pink eye.
Sometimes, skin conditions like rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis can also contribute to blepharitis. If this is the case, you’ll likely need to treat the underlying cause to fully treat your blepharitis too.
Symptoms of blepharitis can include:
-Red and swollen eyes/eyelids
-Crust around eyelashes, especially after waking up
-Burning or stinging feeling
-Gritty feeling in eyes
If you’re experiencing the symptoms listed above, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to determine the cause of your blepharitis. Since it can often be a chronic condition, it’s important for your eye doctor to understand the cause so he or she can create a treatment plan that helps prevent your blepharitis from coming back.
Sometimes the only treatment necessary for blepharitis is carefully washing the eyelid area and using a warm compress to get rid of bacteria or loosen clogged glands. Your eye doctor will tell you how often you should use the warm compress per day and how long you need to keep it on your eye. It will likely be several times a day at the beginning of treatment, then less often as you heal. Your eye doctor may also give you special cleanser to use.
For more stubborn cases, your eye doctor may perform a simple in-office procedure to more thoroughly cleanse your eyelids or prescribe topical medication for you to use. If you are given a prescription, be sure to follow the instructions carefully for the most effective treatment.
While you are treating your blepharitis, you shouldn’t wear contact lenses. Also, avoid using eye makeup to allow the area to heal without further irritation.
Since blepharitis is often a chronic condition, it’s important to take steps to keep it from coming back. These steps include:
-Continue applying a warm compress to your eyelids daily to keep them free from buildup. You may also need to gently clean along the edge of your eyelid with a washcloth or cotton swab to remove any deposits.
-Use special cleanser for your eyelids as directed by your eye doctor.
-Treating any other conditions like dermatitis that may be the cause of your blepharitis.
Although blepharitis is a common eye condition, the unpleasant and painful symptoms can sometimes be tricky to banish. If you are suffering from blepharitis, call Northside Eyecare today at 812-401-7777 to schedule an appointment and start getting relief.