Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Redness, swelling, styes, cysts, and flaky crusts at the eyelid margin characterize it. Symptoms include scratchy, swollen, tender, and irritated eyes. Blepharitis can be caused by various bacteria and be chronic or acute in presentation. People with skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and eczema are more prone to have blepharitis flare ups. Poor facial hygiene can also be a contributing factor.
There are various types of blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis occurs on the outside of the eye, and you can see redness, swelling, and possibly crust near the line of the eyelashes. Posterior blepharitis happens nearer the inside of the eyelid where it contacts the eye. Posterior blepharitis can be due to problems with the lubricating meibomian glands inside the eyelids.
Treatment options are abundant and include over the counter remedies and prescription eyedrops and ointments. Occasionally, minor eyelid surgery is necessary to remove cysts when topical treatments are unsuccessful. Blepharitis, in some cases, requires ongoing treatment. Eyelid hygiene can help maintain eye comfort and appearance. Routine care includes frequent face washing, cleaning the scalp, eyelid scrubs, and occasionally doing a soak or warm compress.
Dr. Rebecca Kiraly-Qualls, Dr. Cindy McGarry, and Dr. Samuel Martin can diagnose the specific type of blepharitis during an eye exam.