Blespharitis 1
Blepharitis 2

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid caused by a chronic bacterial (staphylococci) infection of the skin at the base of the eyelashes and eyelash glands. Normally there are bacteria on our skin and eyelids, however an excessive collection on the eyelid can cause blepharitis. Blepharitis is a common condition often associated with dandruff and dry eyes.

The symptoms of blepharitis include irritationburning, and itching of the eyelid margins. Scales orgranulations can often be seen on the eyelashes, especially around the base of the eyelashes. The eyelids may be sticky and crust together in the morning. Often the eyes appear red-rimmed from the blepharitis. Styes and/or chalazions on the eyelid are commonly associated with blepharitis.

The most common complications from blepharitis are painful styes (an acute inflammation of the glands or hair follicles in the eyelid) and chalazions (chronic inflammation of a meibomian gland in the eyelid). Loss of the eyelashes and inward growth of the eyelashes can occur. If severe, the toxins (from bacteria) spilling into the eyes from blepharitis can cause ulcers, scarring, and inflammation of the surface of the eye.

Blepharitis is often a persistent problem and may be difficult to cure completely. The bacteria on the eyelashes tend to regrow. However with regular, diligent eye care blepharitis can be controlled.

Clean up program for Blepharitis

Use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo “No More Tears” (in case you get it into your eye)

  1. WARM SOAKS: Loosen the crust on the eyelids by applying a warm washcloth to the lashes for five minutes. Wash your face with soap as well.
  2. LID SCRUBS: This is the most important part of the treatment and should be done three times a day. Moisten a washcloth with tap water and pour the baby shampoo solution onto the washcloth. Scrub the outside of the eyelid, the eyelid margin, and especially the base of the eyelashes vigorously with the washcloth. It is okay if the eyelids become red from the rubbing. The lashes must be “squeaky-clean” with no remaining scales or granulations. Do not apply make up until the infection is under control. Old make-up should be thrown away and new make-up should be purchased. It is likely the old make-up is contaminated. After the first six weeks you should be able to get by with only one thorough lid scrub each day.
  3. ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT: Following the lid scrub, apply one-eighth (1/8”) of an inch to the lid margin with your finger, rubbing it well into the base of the lashes. The ointment will not cause harm to your eyes, although it may temporarily blur your vision.

After the inflammation is under control do the eye scrubs as often as necessary to keep the blepharitis quiet. Remember, the symptoms may come and go so the treatment may need to continue on and off for years.

Some individuals have dry eyes and/or dandruff which contribute to the blepharitis. If dry eyes and/ordandruff exists, artificial tears and dandruff shampoo can be used as follows:

ARTIFICIAL TEARS: For dry eyes. Artificial tears may be used as often as you wish while you are awake. There are many brands of individual preference such as Refresh, Hypotears, Tears Plus, Liquid Tears, Tears Naturale, etc. Individual needs will vary depending on the time of day, weather, and the season.

DANDRUFF SHAMPOO: At first, dandruff shampoo should be used three times a day and/or according to the label on the shampoo. Selsun Blue, Head & Shoulders, Tegrin, and Zincon are brand names generally used available. After the first few weeks, the shampoo can be used less often in most cases. (Be sure to keep the shampoo out of your eyes).