Blepharitis is a common condition that accounts for about 5% of eye problems. Although not serious, it can lead to other conditions such as dry eye syndrome. You can suffer with it at any age, but it is more common in people over 40.
What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis refers to the inflammation of eyelid margins. There are two types – Anterior Blepharitis and Posterior Blepharitis.
Anterior affects the front part of the eyelid margin, close to the roots of the eyelashes and can make eyelids red, itchy and sometimes swollen. It is commonly caused by bacteria that normally lives on skin which produces an irritative toxin, causing inflammation.
Posterior affects the Meibomian glands which are found along the eyelid margins, behind the base of the eyelashes. The glands become inflamed and blocked, causing a disturbance in the production of quality oily secretions. This can make the eyelids dry and itchy.
What are the symptoms of blepharitis?
Some sufferers may not have any symptoms at all, but here are the ones to look out for:
- Itchy and sore eyelids
- Eyelids that stick together and are difficult to open, particularly when you wake up
- Burning and tearing of the eyes
- Eyelashes that become crusty or greasy
How can it be treated?
While it cannot usually be cured, a daily eyelid-cleaning routine that involves applying a warm compress – gently massaging your eyelids and wiping away any crusts – can help control the symptoms. Medicated wipes and solutions are very effective in controlling the condition.