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Blepharitis

Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelids. The word “blepharitis” is derived from the Greek word blepharos, which means “eyelid,” and the Greek suffix itis, which is typically used in English to denote an inflammation. Inflammation is the process by which white blood cells and the body’s chemicals react to and protect us from foreign substances, injury, or infection. Signs of inflammation are eye swelling, redness, pain, warmth, and often change in function.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids, causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder with a wide variety of causes. It affects people of all ages. Although it may be uncomfortable, annoying, or unattractive, blepharitis is not contagious and does not cause permanent damage to eyesight. The skin condition can be difficult to manage and it tends to recur. Another term for blepharitis is granulated eyelids. Angular blepharitis describes inflammation that primarily affects the outer corners of the eyelids. Most patients with blepharitis have it in both eyes. MGD, or meibomian gland disease, is often used as a synonym for blepharitis.

The cause of most cases of blepharitis is a malfunction of the oil glands of the lids, although allergies, eye infections, and certain systemic diseases can also cause blepharitis. Common types include allergic blepharitis, seborrheic blepharitis, infectious blepharitis, and blepharitis associated with meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Description & Process

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How is blepharitis treated?

We offer comprehensive eye exams at Eyecrafters Optical and examines your eyes and eyelids carefully for signs of infection. He may take a swab from your eyelid to determine the specific type of infection. Depending on your specific infection, he may prescribe antibiotics in oral or eye-drop form. He may also suggest eye-drops to keep your eyes lubricated and special cleansers to clean your eyelids. 

If you wear contact lenses, you shouldn’t wear them while having treatment for blepharitis, and when you can return to contacts, you should only use a fresh pair, so you can avoid reinfection. Blepharitis tends to recur, and you may find that switching to gas permeable lenses can reduce your risk of reinfection as the hard lenses are less susceptible to deposits.

You should also wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water every time you place or remove your contact lenses. You should also avoid rubbing or touching your eyes as it’s easy to spread bacteria from your fingers to your eyes.

If you’re concerned about blepharitis or another eye infection, call Eyecrafters Optical or make an appointment online today.