Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelid. It occurs most frequently in older people. Blepharitis can be difficult to manage since it tends to recur. While blepharitis is generally not sight threatening, severe disease can result in corneal ulceration and vision loss. There are 2 types of blepharitis:

  • Anterior blepharitis: This affects the eyelashes and results either from staphylococcal infection or scalp dandruff.
  • Posterior blepharitis: This affects the inner eyelid and affects the meibomian (oil) glands of the eyelid.
  • Symptoms of blepharitis include foreign body sensation or burning sensation, excessive tearing, red and swollen eyelids, redness of the eye, itching, sensitivity to light (photophobia), blurred vision, frothy tears, dry eyes or crusting of eyelashes on waking up.
  • Treatment: Management of blepharitis includes keeping the lids clean and free of crusts. Warm compresses should be applied to the lid for 3-5 minutes to loosen the crusts (figure 1). This is followed by light vertical massage of the eyelid (figure 2) with a cotton swab to express the meibomian secretion. Eyelid scrub with a face washer or cotton swab is used to clear the scale and debris that have collected at the eyelid margin (figure 3).
  • If the blepharitis is severe, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics or steroid eyedrops.
  • Lubricating eye drops can be used to treat the dry eye associated with blepharitis.
  • Recent studies have suggested that increase intake of essential fatty acid, especially omega -3 fatty acid is beneficial for blepharitis.

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