Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids and eyelash follicles that can be caused by:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Bacterial infection
- Dry eyes
- Poor eyelid hygiene
- Lice of the eyelash (rare occurrence)
These causes are associated with increased oil production of the glands near the eyelid, which traps bacteria and dirt, causing scaling of the irritated skin and excessive tearing. In addition, the eyelids may become crusty, swollen, itchy and reddened. In more serious cases, the eyelashes may fall out and sores may form on the eyelid. Complications can arise from blepharitis such as the infection spreading to the cornea as well as hastened chalazion and sty formation.
Treatment of blepharitis is usually limited to maintaining better hygiene around the eyelids. This may include some topical antibiotics and cessation of make-up use, but in many cases gentle cleansing of the area is all that is needed. Warm compresses can also help to lessen the symptoms and soothe the eye’s discomfort.