Medical content revised by - Last revision 11/05/2018

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a pathology that affects the eyelids causing inflammation on the edge of the eyelids and that can lead to eye irritation and redness.

There are different types of blepharitis:

  • Anterior: Affects the base of the eyelid where the eyelashes are located.
  • Posterior: It is caused because of a dysfunction of the meibomian glands.
  • Mixed: Both types take place at the same time.

This pathology concern people of all ages. However, people over 50 years are more likely to be affected.

What are the causes?

Blepharitis is caused by:

  • An alteration of the normal function of the glands located on the base of the eyelids.
  • When there is too much oily substance on the eyelid margins creating an optimal environment for the proliferation of bacteria that can irritate the ocular surface and alter the tear film producing eye dryness.
  • If the oily substance blocks the glands, styes may appear, and if they would encyst, meibomian cysts may develop.

How is blepharitis detected?

The most common symptoms that can be associated with blepharitis are:

  • Irritated eyelids
  • Dry eye, grittiness, foreign body sensation and eye inflammation
  • Watering eyes
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • Eyelid inflammation

How is blepharitis treated?

Blepharitis is an eye chronic disease. Patients can experience repeated episodes. It can be a severe disease when there is not an early detection. It is important to have good hygiene habits, such as cleaning every day the eye to avoid blepharitis.

Symptoms can be controlled if an appropriate treatment prescribed by the ophthalmologist is followed.

The treatment will depend on the phase in which the patient is diagnosed. But it usually consists on using local heat on the eyelid for at least 7 minutes and palpebral hygiene with specific products.

There are complementary treatments if the patient also suffers tear problems with artificial tears eye drops and, sometimes, with anti-inflammatory drugs.

If, after following the prescribed treatment, no improvement is noticed, the patient should go to the ophthalmologist for a new assessment.

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