What is Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a medical term used to express inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis occurs in the eyelid region where eyelashes grow; therefore, it affects both the eyelids. It is one of the common sort of bacterial infections having signs of dry eyes or acne rosacea, sort of skin conditions. Inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis may also emerge due to the clogging of small oil glands, which are located at the base of eyelids. There are various medical conditions due to which, inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis may also take place.
Besides being a bacterial infection, inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis, also falls under the category of chronic conditions which are arduous to cure. It is very uncomfortable when it is at its extreme, even unsightly as well. Though, it does not harm or leave any adverse effect to the eyesight and is not contagious in nature as well.
Causes of Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
The exact reason for causing inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis is not known yet, but some of the known causes can be enumerated as:
- Bacterial infection is the main cause of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis.
- A skin condition, named as rosacea can cause inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis.
- Dandruff of the eyebrows and scalp, i.e., seborrheic dermatitis is known to cause inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis.
- Eyelash lice or mites.
- Allergies are of different types, particularly to those which are due to any eye medications, such as eye makeup, contact lenses, and its solutions.
- Clogged glands of eyelids, etc…
Symptoms of Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
In a way to diagnose and confirm the inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis condition accurately, it is necessary to be aware of the signs or symptoms of this disease. Some of the front line symptoms associated with inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis can be enumerated as:
- Red eyes.
- Greasy eyelids.
- Swollen and red eyelids.
- Watery eyes.
- Sensitive to light.
- Itchy eyelids.
- Gritty, stinging or burning sensation.
- Crusted eyelashes at the time of awakening.
- Loss of eyelashes.
- Frequent blinking.
- Abnormal growth of eyelashes.
- Sticky eyelids.
- Skin flaking around the area of eyes.
In case, any of the above conditions persists more than couple of days, even after maintaining proper hygienic conditions, then it becomes necessary to consult with your physician.
Can You Catch Blepharitis? Is it Contagious?
Inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis does not have a contagious character. Though, conjunctivitis often develops in association with this disease and which is contagious without any doubt, but it can also be avoided by maintaining distance from the infected person and proper hygiene.
Tests to Diagnose Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
On visiting the doctor to confirm the inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis, they may prefer to go through various clinical procedures. Some of the foremost clinical tests performed to confirm the inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis condition can be enumerated as:
- A close assessment of eyelashes and eyelid.
- May perform an eye test to check vision of the patient.
- Slit-lamp microscopy test.
- Collect a sample of crust and oil from the eyelid using a swab to check infection, bacteria, allergy and fungi.
- Checking out the eye pressure, etc.
Treatment for Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
Patient diagnosed with inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis are advised from their physician, primarily in three different ways to treat this disorder.
Firstly, they are suggested to carry ongoing eyelid hygiene schedule very strictly, in a way to eliminate the grounds of infection. This procedure is explained them to achieve either through lid scrub or cleansing agent sort of methods.
In case the condition is at its extreme, then it may be taken care by supplemental treatment which is pursued through oral and topical medications such as steroids, antibiotics, cyclosporine etc.
In few cases such as posterior inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis, nutritional supplements are also prescribed by the doctors also recommend having omega-3, like flaxseed oil which aids meibomian glands to work in a healthy way by providing them proper lubrication.
Most of the time, the first method of treatment is adopted to treat general cases of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis.
Home Remedies for Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
There are some of the leading home remedies to treat inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis without any sort of medications. These can be enumerated as:
- Complete eyelid, eyelash hygiene is a prerequisite to treating inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis condition at home. Regular cleaning of eyelids with the help of lukewarm water, applying the prescribed cleansing solution and touching them with properly washed hands would definitely augment the healing velocity and efficiency of treatment.
- Use warm compresses as it helps in loosening debris and scales from the eyelashes and also dilute the oil secretion from the oil glands. This also results in reduced risk of lump enlargement.
- It is also advised to gently and safely scrub the eyelids on frequent intervals, as it prevents the oil residue accumulation and scaly patches over the eyelids. It also facilitates preventing it from crust emergence over eyelids, which are directly responsible for the delay in healing. A 2 to 3 drops of baby shampoo in a lukewarm cup of water will do it all, if applied gently by a cotton ball on the affected area.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are far better inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis treating agents, which are taken orally in the form of different meals such as tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds and salmons. These fatty acids enable meibomian glands to work in a healthy manner, which is necessary for proper lubrication of eyes and to eyelid comfort as well.
- As inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis comes with crusting, it is required to ease this conditions by applying proper lubricators such as moisturizers to it. Aloe Vera is one of such kind of moisturizer, which can be applied to get rid of inflammation and crust accumulation.
Though there are various other home remedies to treat this disorder, but these are some easiest to apply methods which can be used to get rid of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis.
Recovery Period/ Healing Time for Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
People often forget that inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis is a chronic disease and it requires breaking a vicious cycle and normalizing the glandular secretion of eyelids. Oral medication such as steroids and antibiotics comes with side effects like complications due to the long term usage and short-term effect respectively. As many patients have had inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis for a long duration of time and easily get discouraged when do not see drugs doing quick enough for them.
It may take several weeks and even months to completely eradicate the source of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis and that too if proper medication is kept on as per schedule. However, the recovery period or healing time for general inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis is one or two weeks, if followed by proper medication and prevention.
Complications of Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
Inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis comes with multiple sorts of other complications, which can be elaborated under few different subheading such as:
- The problem with eyelid skin is a complication of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis. If blepharitis succeeds to persist for a bit longer duration, it uses to cause scars over the eyelids. It may also result in turning of eyelids towards outward or inward directions as well.
- A complication of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis is sty. It is a condition which usually develops in the baseline of eyelashes, which further results in the form of painful lump, directed towards the outside part of an eyelid. It is easily visible and most irritating sort of complication associated with blepharitis.
- Corneal damage is another complication of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis. Wrongful eyelid directions and continuous irritation due to inflamed eyelids may result in the form of ulcer or soreness on the cornea part. Low tearing may predispose patient towards corneal infection.
- Dry eye or excess tearing is also seen in inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis. Shedding of debris from eyelids and unusual oily secretion may cover tear film. When this unusual tear film comes in contact with healthy lubrication of eyelids, it results in the form of irritation and dry eye conditions, sometimes excess tearing as well.
- Yet another complication of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis is chalazion. When any of the oil glands at the immediate behind of the eyelashes get blocked due to any reason, it causes chalazion condition. Under this form of irregularity, glands get infected with the bacteria resulting in a red and swollen type of eyelid. It mostly occurs on the inner sides of the eyelids.
- Due to blepharitis, a couple of eyelashes related problems can be seen frequently. First one is abnormal growth of the eyelashes and another one falls out of eyelashes.
- Chronic pink eye is also a complication. Chronic ailment to the eye is also very well known as conjunctivitis as well.
- As the lubrication of the eye get affected in inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis, usually it becomes difficult to carry the contact lenses normally.
Lifestyle Changes for Inflammation of the Eyelids or Blepharitis
It would be beneficial to adopt certain lifestyle changes while suffering from inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis. In a way to treat it effectively, it is required to introduce routine hygiene practice of cleaning and warm compresses of affected area. It will help patient relieving from symptoms & appearance of inflammation of the eyelids or blepharitis. A preventive cure measures applied to eliminate the chances of emerging blepharitis associated ailments such as seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea will also do the needful to avoid painful conditions.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. Blepharitis. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-blepharitis
- Mayo Clinic. Blepharitis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blepharitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20370141
- WebMD. Blepharitis. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/blepharitis#1
- All About Vision. Blepharitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/blepharitis.htm