What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a non-specific term meaning inflammation of the eyelids. This eye condition is one of the most common eye disorders in the UK and can affect people of all ages. Blepharitis is a long-term chronic condition that rarely disappears completely, but it is not a sight threatening.
Many patients suffer from blepharitis for years before the symptoms start. Some common symptoms of blepharitis can be any combination of the following:
- Red and inflamed eyelids
- Crusting of the eyelid
- Itching and discomfort
- Gritty or burning sensation
- Blurred visions
What causes blepharitis?
There are many different causes. It can be further classified into anterior blepharitis and posterior blepharitis. The most common cause is a subset of posterior blepharitis, known as meibomian gland dysfunction. There are 40-50 meibomian glands situation within the eyelids. These meibomian glands are responsible for producing lipids (oils) that cover the tears on the surface of the eyes and stop them evaporating.
Blepharitis treatment options
There is no cure for this chronic eye condition, but there are various blepharitis treatment options available.
- Eyelid hygiene is key, so establishing a good eye-cleaning routine is important.
- Hot compresses: In meibomian gland dysfunction, the oil ducts get blocked up and this caused irritation and dryness on the surface of the eyes. The mainstay of blepharitis treatment is to melt the oils with hot compresses as well as gentle pressure to unblock the oil ducts.
- Dietary supplements: blepharitis treatment using hot compresses can be further enhanced with the use of dietary supplements in the form of omega-3-oil or flax seed oil supplements, which change the constituents of the oils in the eyelids and make hot compresses more effective.