What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a common inflammatory condition where the edges of the eyelids become red, swollen and inflamed. Blepharitis is often caused by a build-up of bacteria living along the eyelid and eyelashes. The most important part of treating and managing Blepharitis is to keep the eyelids clean. If you do not treat it, it will not improve, and your symptoms will remain or possible worsen.

Types of blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis including anterior and posterier. Anterior blepharitis refers to inflammation affecting the skin around the base of your eyelashes. Posterior Blepharitis refers to inflammation affecting your eyelid glands. Meibomian Glad Dysfunction (MGD) can occur when the eyelid glands become clogged.

Blepharitis affects more than 82 million Americans. It is common amongst people aged over 50. Also, those who have oily skin, dandruff or rosacea are more susceptible to being diagnosed. 

Symptoms and causes

If you have Blepharitis, you may notice some of the following:

  • Itchy, sore, and red eyelids that stick together
  • Burning, gritty sensation in your eyes
  • Visible dandruff on your eyelashes
  • Crusty or greasy eyelashes

The possible causes of Blepharitis include:

  • Complication of skin conditions such as Seborrhoelc Dermatitis or Rosacea
  • A buildup of oil and debris on the eyelids and eyelashes
  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)
  • Bacterial eyelid infection

Advice & Treatment for Blepharitis

Daily lid hygiene is essential to the management of Blepharitis. Here are treatments that can help you maintain cleanliness around your eyelids:

  1. Heat:

Applying a Heated Eye Mask or warm cloth to closed eyelids for 10 minutes can help soften the clogged oils in the eyelid glands. This allows the oils to follow more freely and help prevent the tears from evaporating from the surface of the eye. Following the heated eye mask, gently massage the eyelids using your forefinger. Massaging will help to push the oils out from the eyelid glands.

  • Cleanse:

Cleansing your eyelids daily will help remove debris, bacteria, and oil that can often lead to Blepharitis or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Using lid scrubs or diluted baby shampoo applied by swab or cotton bud have been the most widely recommended method, there are newer, more effective methods of managing lid hygiene such as commercially available lid scrubs, wipes, and Ocusoft Lid foam. Lid scrubs and wipes are usually presoaked in a cleansing solution and ready to use.

  • Doctor’s Blephex Treatment

In cases of severe meibomian glad plugging and recurrent chalazions/styes, our doctors recommend a BlephEx treatment. BlephEx uses a gentle micro-exfoliating sponge to gently cleanse and remove bacterial biofilm and lid debris in just 6-8 minutes. Since home treatments are only semi-effective the procedure is typically repeated at 4–6-month intervals.

  • Supplement

Eye doctors recommend a diet rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and/or the use of nutritional supplements to help manage Blepharitis. Increasing your consumption of Omega-3 Fatty Acids can improve the oil in your glands and relieve symptoms associated with Blepharitis, Dry Eye, and Meibomian Glad Dysfuction (MGD). It is important to choose an Omega-3 supplement such as Focus Relief Vitamins that is highly absorbable by the body to ensure best results.

Think you may be susceptible to blepharitis? Contact our office and request an appointment at one of our locations. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment. Our ophthalmologists will talk with you about your symptoms and whether you may be diagnosed. 


Tucson Eyecare

American Academy of Ophthalmology