What is blepharitis?

This is a chronic inflammation of the base of eyelids. There is oily debris and dandruff like flakes. .

There are different types of blepharitis.

Staphylococcal (staph) blepharitis is the most common and affects about 20 million in the US. Staph is on your skin and nostrils and usually does not cause any harm. Why it sometimes causes problems to your eyelids is unknown. It occurs more frequently in women and in warmer weather. Dry eyes is associated with 50% of these cases.


Acute blepharitis

This is an acute infection mostly commonly due to staph. However, other bacteria, viruses, and allergenscan be the cause.

Chronic blepharitis

This is noninfectious blepharitis of unknown cause. The meibomian glands do not function properly. This results in the meibomian glands producing lipids that are abnormal and do work properly to reduce tear film evaporation. They are abnormally thick and plug the ducts of the meibomian gland. Another cause of chronic blepharitis is seborrheic blepharitis and due to overactive sebaceous glands. This results in flakiness similar to crusting of staph blepharitis.

Blepharitis Symptoms

  • Itchiness and soreness
  • Redness and irritation
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Oily eyelids
  • Dandruff like flakes on the eyelids
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Misdirection or loss of eyelashes or discoloration
  • Scarring of the eyelids which turned the lashes against the eyeball
  • Damage to the cornea
  • Symptoms seen with staph blepharitis
  • Collarettes- the base of the eyelash has a ring of flakes
  • Symptoms are mainly on the anterior (front) portion of the eyelid
  • Infiltrates on peripheral cornea
  • Complications
  • Chalazion
  • A cyst that forms on the inside of the eyelid
  • Hordeolum (stye) is similar to a pimple at the root of the eyelash
  • Conjunctivitis-Pink eye.

Associated Conditions with Blepharitis

  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Blepharitis Treatment

Cleaning will decrease the symptoms but cannot cure the disease.

The first step is very important. Use Warm compresses – this will help to unblock glands and loosen oil deposits, crusts on the eyelid so that they are easier to remove. The use of a moist heat eye mask is suggested. The pad is warmed up in the microwave. The pad will hold heat longer than a warm washcloth. Ophthalmologist Dr. Oyakawa recommends The Bruder Eye Mask.

Next use eyelid cleaner spray Avenova or other eyelid cleaning pads/foam to clean eyes. Click here for instructional videos.