Blepharitis Eye Problems and Diseases

January 14, 2008 by  
Filed under VISION

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What is Blepharitis?

When the eyelids can become inflamed, the problem in most cases is a chronic eye disease called Blepharitis. Similar in nature to the skin condition called eczema, in case of Blepharitis, the eyelids become red, scaly and irritated.

There are two basic types of Blepharitis: Seborrheic Blepharitis and Staph Blepharitis. The most notable symptom of either type is inflammation on and around the eyelids that can be accompanied by irritation and painful itching. In some cases, tiny ulcers develop along the eyelid margins which are the areas that touch one another once the eyelid closes.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Blepharitis

Individuals suffering from Seborrheic Blepharitis generally also suffer from skin conditions that affect other parts of the body including the scalp, chest and back.

With Seborrheic Blepharitis, there is a problem with the tear film that the body produces to help protect and lubricate the eyes. It can be either a problem with the quality or the quantity but regardless, the resulting tear film causes greasy scales to form at the base of the eyelashes. These scales flake off easily and cause irritation. When insufficient quantities of tear film are produced, usually because the glands are blocked, the eye does not get lubricated properly. The dry spots cause the eyes to feel gritty.

Symptoms of Staph Blepharitis

Staph Blepharitis is actually a childhood eye disease that is caused by a bacterial infection. This condition generally does not go away. Its symptoms include the development and accumulation of crusty material at the base of the eyelashes. The crust often affects a person’s ability to open their eyes after sleep. Sometimes, after the crusty matter is removed, tiny ulcers remain that begin to bleed or otherwise ooze. Sties can develop, as can red eye, and the eyelashes can become weak and break. If the infection is not treated properly, over time, the cornea can become scarred.

Who is at risk?

Both adults and children can develop Blepharitis however it is more prevalent in adults. There is an increased risk in children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.

Early detection/treatment

As with other diseases of the eye, Blepharitis is typically diagnosed during a routine eye exam. Since one cause of this condition is poor hygiene, the most effective treatment for Blepharitis involves keeping the eyelid margin area super clean. To prevent irritation from excessive cleaning, it is often recommended that this area be cleaned with a shampoo that is formulated for babies. A washcloth can also be used to help remove the scaly deposits.

A hot pack or warm compress applied to the affected areas is effective at reducing pain and swelling. When ulcers are present, a hot pack can also help speed the healing process.

When the condition is caused by dry eyes, lubricants are effective treatments. If necessary, antibiotic ointments and creams can be applied to affected areas. Some people are prescribed steroids to help reduce the inflammation however their use should only be a short-term treatment option.

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2 Responses to “Blepharitis Eye Problems and Diseases”
  1. Thanks for pointing that out Tom and *wow* what a great video and site that site also great. I’ve added it to my LINKS page and blogroll. Is that your site?

  2. Tom says:

    While some people describe blepharitis as either “Seborrheic” or “staph” … I think an easier way to conceptualize it is as either Posterior (also called meibomian gland dysfunction) or anterior blepharitis.

    1. Posterior blepharitis is when the meibomian glands at the base of the lashes clog up with debris. Without this oil production, the eye’s tears evaporate quickly and the eyes become irritated. To see a video of what posterior blepharitis looks like, check out:

    Meibomian Gland dysfunction video

    2. Anterior blepharitis: this is when debris forms at the base of the eyelash follicles. This process is similar to dandruff, and the debris constantly falls into the eyes and irritates them.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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