If you suspect that you are suffering from blepharitis, check out the twelve most common questions on blepharitis below. They may just help you to better understand the condition.
1. What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids and eyelash follicles. It is sometimes associated with a bacterial eye infection, symptoms of dry eyes or certain types of skin conditions such as acne rosacea.
2. What are the symptoms of blepharitis?
The eyelids appear red and irritated, with scales that stick to the base of the eyelashes. The eyelids may be crusty, reddish in color, swollen, and itchy with a burning sensation. It may also feel as though there is sand or dust in the eye. This is what’s known as the sensation of a foreign object. Occasionally, the eyelashes will fall out.
3. What causes blepharitis?
Blepharitis is typically caused by an overgrowth of the bacteria that is normally found on the skin. This is usually due to seborrheic dermatitis or a bacterial infection. These may occur simultaneously. The cause is an overgrowth of the bacteria that is normally found on the skin. Blepharitis can also be caused by excessive oil production of the glands near the eyelid. This can lead to excessive bacteria growth.
Allergies and lice that affect the eyelashes may also lead to blepharitis, although this is far less common. Some people who get repeated styes and chalazia may also be prone to blepharitis.
4. Is blepharitis contagious?
Even though it is a relatively common and non-serious condition, blepharitis can be very contagious. Those dealing with this condition must be very careful to avoid spreading the infection to other people, particularly family members.
Always wash your hands before and after touching your eyelids. If you don’t wash your hands, you risk spreading bacteria and infection not only to those around you, but to other parts of your body too.
While you are treating blepharitis, use your own towels, shower poufs, and washcloths. Never share cosmetics.
Many times, blepharitis becomes a chronic condition, meaning that it lasts over an extended period of time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotic or steroid eye drops or ointments. It is important to remember that any eye medications or even over-the-counter drops should only ever be used by one person. Sharing eye medications can result in transferring one person’s infection to another person’s eye. Never share eye drops of any kind. Also be careful when using eye drops so as to not touch the dropper on your eye. Doing so can transfer the bacteria into your other eye and leave the bottle contaminated.
5. How can I treat blepharitis?
The key to blepharitistreatmentis to focus on both good hygiene and soothing the eye area. An all-in-one blepharitis kit is often the easiest, most affordable, and most effective way to treat blepharitis. Many people resort to using harsh washes or wipes, which will only make your symptoms worse.
To start, be sure to wash the eye area thoroughly to remove flakes and excess oil and dirt. Some people turn to diluted baby shampoo for cleansing, but we recommend a more natural solution. The eyes require special treatment. Look for a soothing foaming cleanser that is pH balanced to keep the tear film of the eye intact. The tear film is your eyes’ natural defense against foreign bodies. Foam cleanser offers a soothing way to effectively cleanse the eye area and remove excess dirt.
Another treatment method is moist heat therapy. This treatment uses heat to aid in loosening the oils our eyes need to slow evaporation of our natural tears. Special goggles with hypoallergenic padding can be worn temporarily to increase humidity in the eye area, thus reducing the evaporation of natural and artificial tears. This creates a soothing environment for the cornea and reduces pain.
6. Is there a cure for blepharitis?
Unfortunately, blepharitis is a chronic condition for which there is no known cure. However, many sufferers find that proper hygiene combined with soothing treatment/therapy can be incredibly effective in lessening the annoying and uncomfortable symptoms of blepharitis.
7. How does blepharitis affect dry eyes?
Occasionally, the crusting associated with blepharitis can cause a blockage of the meibomian glands, which reduces the oily layer of the tear film (the lipid), resulting in excessive loss of moisture and exacerbate the symptoms of dry eyes.
8. My eyelids don’t look red? Can I still have blepharitis?
It is indeed possible to have blepharitis without redness of the eyelids. The condition is sometimes so mild that you don’t notice it.
9. What is the difference between conjunctivitis and blepharitis?
Conjunctivitis, also known as Pink Eye, is often mistaken as blepharitis, and vice versa. The conjunctiva is a thin, transparent membrane of the eye that covers the insides of both the upper and lower eyelids and the whites of the eyes. It is a smooth, protective layer that allows the eyes to blink and move easily and comfortably. This membrane can become inflamed in the event of a viral or bacterial infection or from allergies.
While conjunctivitis shares many of the same symptoms as blepharitis such as the feeling of dust or sand in the eyes and redness, there are a few key differences. Conjunctivitis typically causes intense itching and pus-like discharge. Conversely, blepharitis causes a burning sensation and flakes along the eyelid margins.
Medicated eye drops are often prescribed to treat conjunctivitis. Anti-viral, antibiotic, or anti-allergy drops can be used depending on the cause of the condition. However, most cases of conjunctivitis will clear up by themselves.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margins, at the roots of the eyelashes, not the conjunctiva.
10. Can I wear contacts if I have blepharitis?
In short, yes you can. But in order to wear them comfortably without causing further irritation, it’s important to treat the underlying cause. Initially, blepharitis may need an antibiotic or steroid ointment to reduce intense pain and swelling. After that, treatment involving good hygiene and warm compresses will help reduce flaking which causes problems with contact lenses.
It also helps to increase water intake, Omega 3 fatty acid (fish oils & flax seed oil) intake, sleep, and exercise. This will ensure that your eyes are performing exactly the way they should and will make wearing contacts much easier.
11. What kind of doctor should I see about my blepharitis?
A family doctor or general practitioner can treat you if you have blepharitis, however they may refer you to an eye specialist such an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
12. What other options do I have for treating blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a chronic condition that can take a long time to get under control. Aside from your regular washing routine, there are some things you can do to really help your condition.
First, try avoiding contact lenses for awhile. If your eyes are upset, placing thin lenses on them isn’t going to help your situation. Let your eyes rest as much as possible. They need a soothing environment in order to heal.
Also consider taking supplements each day. Adding fish and flaxseed oil (Omega 3) supplements to your diet will help your eyes to produce their own natural oils and tear film, which will help soothe your eyes. Work on increasing your water intake as well, something that your body always needs to function and heal itself, not just when you’re dealing with blepharitis. Get plenty of sleep and exercise. It’s important to make sure your body is as healthy as it can possibly be so that it can heal itself.
Avoid stress, caffeine, bad fats (Omega 6), smoking, and dirty or dusty places. All of these things will make your eyes feel worse than they already do.
About The Author:
Pierce Boylin is an author and blogger who often writes about health and medical related topics. His writings can be viewed across the web. To learn more about treating blepharitis visit http://www.RestorEyes.ca