What is Blepharitis?


Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that causes redness, swelling and crusty eyelashes. It is a very common condition, especially among people who have oily skin, dandruff or rosacea. Blepharitis is not contagious.


What are the Causes of Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is often caused by an overgrowth of bacteria that live along the base of the upper and lower eyelashes. There are other causes of blepharitis as well:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows)
  • Bacterial eyelid infection
  • Dry eyes
  • Problems with the oil glands in the eyelids (meibomian gland dysfunction)
  • Eyelash mites or eyelash lice
  • Fungal eye infection


Symptoms of Blepharitis

What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?

Blepharitis rarely effects your eyesight, but you may experience discomfort because of the symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Red, swollen eyelids
  • Tiny flakes or crusts that look like dandruff at the bottom of the eyelashes
  • Itchy, burning or stinging eyes
  • Itchy, greasy eyelids
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Grittiness or a feeling that something is in your eye
  • Intermittent blurry vision that typically improves with frequent blinking
Our Specialist

Blepharitis Diagnosis and Treatment

An inflamed, crusty eyelid is the tell-tale sign of blepharitis. Your doctor will perform a more detailed examination using a slit lamp microscope to help determine the cause. Based on your symptoms and your doctor’s examination, a treatment plan will be devised.  

At Home Procedures

  • Eyelid scrubs using non-prescription wipes, diluted baby shampoo, or prescription eyelid cleaners can be used to remove the film and excess bacteria.
  • Prescription eye drops or ointments can be prescribed to kill the bacteria
  • Warm compresses over the eyes will help to soothe the eye and gently loosen any flakes or crustiness on the lids.
  • Supplements, like omega-3 fatty acids, can support healthy meibomian glands, keeping your eyes moist and comfortable
  • In some cases, your doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics.

In Office Procedures

  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) can open the clogged meibomian glands and improve the flow of oil to the eye.

Treatments for blepharitis are aimed at easing and controlling the symptoms as there is no cure.


Take Control Your Blepharitis Symptoms

Daily eye hygiene and a care plan devised with your doctor is the best strategy for managing blepharitis. Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Julie McLaughlin, the #1 choice for treating blepharitis in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and the surrounding areas.  

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