Blepharitis is a swelling of the eyelids that can cause blurry vision and other symptoms. Most of the time, blepharitis happens when the eyelid's oil glands produce too little, excess, or hardened oil. Little oil may make tears evaporate faster and cause dry eyes. Excess oil can make the eyelids dry, crusted, and flaky. Hardened oil can clog the eyelids and cause inflammation.
Blepharitis typically affects the eyelids, but it can also affect the cornea (the eye's protective outer surface) and the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin membrane that lines and covers the cornea and the inner part of the eyelids. It provides lubrication and prevents bacteria from entering the eye.
The following can increase your chances of getting blepharitis:
Clogged eyelid oil glands
Poor eyelid hygiene
Certain chronic health conditions like diabetes
Cosmetic products and makeup
The symptoms of blepharitis depend on what is causing it. Apart from blurry vision, blepharitis can cause:
Redness, crusty, peeling skin, and oily discharge along the eyelid's edge
A feeling of a foreign substance in the eye
Burning or itchy feeling
Eyelids gluing together, especially in the mornings
Painless bumps on the eyelids (chalazion)
Sores or ulcers below the eyelashes in severe cases
Blepharitis can cause more serious complications, including eye scarring. Thus, it is vital to seek treatment.
Treatment depends on the symptoms you are having. Your eye doctor will inquire about your symptoms and examine your eyelids for adequate tears and discharge of bacteria.
Blepharitis has no cure, but you can manage and treat it by caring for your eyelids. If an infection is causing your symptoms, your eye doctor will prescribe an antibiotic ointment to apply to your infected eyelid.
If instructed, clean your eyelids with warm water and an eyelid cleanser and gently apply the balm. You may only need ointment at night for a mild infection. Severe cases may require it up to four times a day.
If the infection does not resolve after ointment treatment, oral antibiotics may be prescribed. Oral antibiotics are rarely needed and recommended for severe cases. If you are prescribed oral antibiotics, you may need to take them longer, up to six weeks.
If you are prone to blepharitis, keeping your eyelids clean can help prevent it. Always clean your hands before touching your eyes and avoid using cosmetic products around your eyelids. Wash your face daily, carefully cleaning around the eyelids. Also, avoid rubbing your eyes. Blepharitis can make your infected eye itchy but rubbing it can result in a secondary infection.
For more on blepharitis, visit Battleground Eye Care at our office in Greensboro, North Carolina. Call (336) 564-6800 to book an appointment today.