Blepharitis is a disease of the eyelids and is one of the more common culprits for the patient’s symptoms of dry eyes. The margin of the eyelid becomes chronically inflamed and often causes itching, burning, redness, tearing of the eyes and recurrent Styes. Patients often feel that their eyes are dry and complain of a gritty “sand in the eye” sensation. Generally, lubricating eye drops due not improve the symptoms.
Blepharitis is typically caused by dysfunction of the oil-producing glands of the eye. Known as Seborrhea blepharitis, this condition is associated with a decrease id physical health, stress, poor diet and hormonal imbalance.
Less commonly, Blepharitis is caused by a bacterial overgrowth at the base of the eyelashes resulting in infection and inflammation of the small oil glands, which line the base of the eyelashes (meibomian glands). This condition is often associated with a build up of yellow material around the eyelashes.
It is difficult to distinguish between the two causes of Blepharitis. Fortunately, they are both treated similarly.
Improved hygiene is the initial goal in treatment. Dr. Switch will give you several techniques to clean the base of he eyelashes. Warm compresses are used to help the oil glands drain and improve flow. Often, gentle massaging of the eyelids promotes expression of the infected oil secretions. In many cases, a mild antibiotic ointment is used to eliminate the bacteria and the oil glands to cleanse. Rarely, oral antibiotics are required to control the bacterial component of blepharitis.
Treatment of blepharitis not only improves dry eye symptoms but also prevents the deeper infection of oil the meibomian glands known as chalazions (Styes).