It’s coming up to the silly season and it’s nearly to time to rock those party looks. With summer right around the corner, you want to look your best. The last thing you need is a bout of blepharitis...
What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margins. It usually presents as red, flaky and crusty eyelids – right along the line of your eyelashes. Depending on the cause of the blepharitis, your eyes can also be sore, red and irritated. Your vision may be intermittently blurry and there may be a sticky discharge. In severe, chronic cases, blepharitis may cause deformity of the eyelids resulting in the eyelids growing inwards towards your eye. Blepharitis is usually a chronic condition and may flare up and require treatment throughout your life.
What causes blepharitis?
Blepharitis is usually associated with skin disorders such as acne rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. It is also associated with certain dry eye conditions, particularly where the oil glands in the eyelids are blocked. This is a common condition called meibomian gland dysfunction. Although symptoms are often mild, it can be a distressing and difficult condition to treat and there is no one-off cure.
How is blepharitis treated?
In mild cases of blepharitis, prevention and treatment focus on keeping the lid margins meticulously clean, clearing up the oil glands along the lid margins and getting to the underlying cause of the blepharitis. Severe cases of blepharitis always require professional treatment for effective results.
What can I do at home for blepharitis?
Here are 3 effective strategies you can use to prevent or manage mild blepharitis and get your eyes looking good again:
- Lid hygiene: Thoroughly and gently clean the eyelid margins once a day. You can use a dedicated product from your pharmacy or optometry practice, which contains a gentle but highly effective cleanser. Or, you can simply scrub your eye lid margins in the shower. Allow the warm water to flow over your closed eyes as you gently use your index finger to scrub along the eyelash line. This is best done first thing in the morning.
- Warm compresses: Gently heating the eyelids can assist in unblocking the oil glands along the eyelid margins and this can be very effective in preventing or clearing up mild cases of blepharitis. Use a heat pack (a gel-filled heat/cool pack works well) and heat it in the microwave to a temperature you can easily withstand against your skin. It should feel warm rather than hot. Place a clean tissue over the closed eyes, lie back and apply the gel pack to your eyes for about 10 minutes. This works well at bedtime and has the added benefit of relaxing you before sleep!
- A nutritional supplement: Blepharitis is essentially a skin condition, and not actually a disease of the eye itself, even though it can have a detrimental effect on the eye. Getting to the underlying cause of the skin problem can have great results for blepharitis sufferers. In severe cases, your dry eye specialist may recommend a course of antibiotics to improve your condition, but simply taking an omega 3 supplement can work wonders in milder cases. You can choose a supplement specially formulated for good eyelid function or you can simply boost your intake of healthy omega three oils.
For more information on what you can do to prevent and manage blepharitis, or for more severe cases, call The Eye Practice on (02) 9290 1899 or make an appointment online today. We are dry eye specialists and see patients with blepharitis every day.