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Eye Specialists

Treatments for blepharitis, and inflammation of the eyelid

BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists diagnoses and treats blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid. Blepharitis is a common condition most often caused by bacteria or a skin condition.

What are the symptoms of blepharitis?

In most cases, blepharitis causes itchy, irritated and red eyes. Some symptoms may be worse after waking up.

Blepharitis may cause eyelids to become reddened and swollen. Eyelids may develop scales at the base of the lashes. As the scales become coarser, they form crusts that cause eyelids to stick together. This is most often seen first thing in the morning.

Some people with blepharitis may develop styes, which are swollen red lumps on the eyelid.

Blepharitis may cause eyes to tear up more frequently and be sensitive to bright light.

Who gets blepharitis?

Blepharitis is often seen in people whose skin tends to be oily. It can also occur in people with skin inflammations, including acne or rosacea. Blepharitis can begin in childhood, but it is most often seen later in life.

Why should blepharitis be treated?

Staphylococcus, or staph, bacteria can thrive on this skin in these conditions. That can cause eye damage that includes scarring of the cornea.

How is blepharitis treated?

Blepharitis is treated by targeting bacteria, reducing scales on the eyelid and keeping the eyelid clean.

Treatment may include the use of an antibiotic, steroid eye drops or an ointment as directed by your doctor.

Daily, even life-long treatment may be needed.

After waking up and at bedtime, run a clean washcloth under hot water, wring it out and place it over the closed eyelids for 3 to 5 minutes. Then use the same washcloth to wipe the closed eyelids. Go from the inner edge to the outer edge of each eyelid using a sweeping motion.

Every other day, place a small amount of no-tears baby shampoo on a washcloth and create a lather. With the eyes closed, massage gently in a circular motion along the eyelid and edge of the lashes. Then rinse with warm water.

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