How to Prevent Blepharitis
Sticky, swollen, and itchy eyes can make waking up in the morning an unpleasant experience. While most of experience swollen eyes a little when we first wake up, if you are suffering with eyelashes that feel clogged and sticky, or are irritated and sore on a daily basis, then you could be suffering from blepharitis.
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is one of those conditions that often sound much worse than the condition itself. Blepharitis is an extremely common ocular disorder that is characterized by frequent inflammation of the eyelids. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, blepharitis is non-contagious, but it is a disorder that tends to come and go. Patients may receive a reprieve after an episode, and this can last for weeks or even months, before the problem reoccurs.
Types of Blepharitis
There are two different types of blepharitis, which are determined by the location of the inflammation, and the cause behind it. Occasionally, a patient may be affected by both types are the same time. When this happens, it is referred to as mixed blepharitis.
In anterior blepharitis, the skin around the base of the eyelashes is affected. It is most often caused by dermatitis, during which the flaky skin blocks the Meibomian glands which are in the eyelid. Alternatively, it can also be caused by an allergic reaction to staphylococcus bacteria, which is present on our skin but normally harmless.
In posterior blepharitis, the Meibomian glands behind the base of the eyelashes become blocked by skin flakes, bacteria, or other debris. People who suffer from Rosacea are particularly prone to this type of the disorder.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
Most patients find that the symptoms of blepharitis are considerably worse after sleep, as the eyelids are closed for an extended period which allows oil and debris time to accumulate along the edge of the eyelids.
The primary symptoms associated with this condition include:
- Crusty/greasy eyelashes
- Itchy, sore and red eyelids that stick together
- Increased sensitivity to light
- A gritty or burning sensation in your eyes
- Swollen eyelid margins
- Abnormal eyelash growth or eyelashes that are falling out or failing to grow
Treating and Preventing Blepharitis
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for blepharitis. However, it is possible to manage the condition if it does develop, and to prevent the condition from occurring.
If you are already suffering from blepharitis, you should:
- Wash your eyes gently using a clean cloth and warm water.
- Wash one lid at a time using a clean cloth each time, so that bacteria do not spread between each eye.
- If you have particularly stubborn, crusty eyes, use a warm damp cloth, and place it over your eyes for approximately five minutes. The warmth will help soften any crusts and loosen oily debris.
To help prevent further episodes of blepharitis, you should:
- Keep your eyes as clean as possible.
- Make sure you remove all eye makeup before you go to sleep.
- Don’t use eyeliner on the back edges of your eyelids behind the eyelashes.
- If you are already suffering from blepharitis, avoid using makeup until it has completely cleared.
- Replace makeup regularly, particularly if you have recently suffered a bout of blepharitis. Contaminated makeup is a prime cause of reoccurring blepharitis.
If you are suffering with the symptoms of blepharitis, and they don’t seem to be improving, we recommend that you make an appointment with Progressive Ophthalmology as soon as possible. This will help to protect you against the complications that can occur as a result of blepharitis, which include dry eye syndrome, conjunctivitis, and even damage to the cornea.