Blepharitis is a condition which causes the eyelids to become dry and irritated; it can contribute to other eye conditions including dry eye syndrome, styes and conjunctivitis. Blepharitis is a major cause of up to 5 percent of all eye problems seen by GPs but it is usually a mild condition and can be treated quickly and easily. There are 2 types of blepharitis; these include anterior and posterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis affects the inner edge of the eyelid close to the eyes, while posterior blepharitis affects the outer edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes attach to the eyelid.

What causes blepharitis?

Most cases of anterior blepharitis are caused by bacteria known as staphylococcal blepharitis but it may also occur as a result of a skin condition known as seborrhoeic dermatitis; this causes oily and greasy skin, which encourages bacteria to breed. Posterior blepharitis is caused by complications which affect the glands that are located along the rim of the eyelids; complications can either cause the glands to produce too much oil or too little oil. Oil is naturally produced to hold tears in place; tears provide protection for the eye and changes in the oil prevent the eyes from being fully protected.

Symptoms of blepharitis

Common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sore, red eyes
  • Sticky eyes (especially in the morning when the eyelids may be stuck together)
  • Heightened sensitivity to light
  • Crusty deposits along the eyelashes

Treating blepharitis

Most conditions of blepharitis can be eased by gently cleaning the yes using a warm damp cloth; eyes should be cleansed in this way at least once a day as part of your cleansing routine, even if you have no symptoms of eye conditions. If cleaning fails to ease the symptoms, a doctor may prescribe antibiotic cream or tablets.

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