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Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid that tends to recur. It is a common eye disorder that can affect the skin, lashes, or glands of the eyelid.
Blepharitis is classified as:
Blepharitis may also be a combination of these 2 types.
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It is not always clear what causes blepharitis. There are a number of factors that may be linked to the development of blepharitis based on the type:
Other general issue that may play a role in blepharitis include:
Factors that may increase your chance of blepharitis include:
Factors that can make symptoms worse include:
Symptoms can vary but are usually worse in the morning and involve both eyes. If glands are affected they can reduce the amount of moisture for the eye. Blepharitis can cause one or more of the following:
More severe blepharitis can cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. An examination of your eyes will be done. Blepharitis may be suspected based on the symptoms.
If inflammation is severe, occurs often, or is not responding to treatment further tests may be needed. This may include:
Blepharitis tends to reappear but treatment can help manage symptoms. Managing symptoms can help reduce the chance of complications.
Cleaning and caring for the eyelids is important during flare ups. Simple home steps like warm compresses to the eye and gentle cleaning will help remove crust. Massage and applying pressure to the eyelids can also help release fluids from gland.
Other steps like avoiding use of contacts or eye makeup may also be needed until symptoms disappear.
Blepharitis that does not respond to self care may need medication. Options will depend on specific symptoms but may include:
There are no known ways reduce your chance of blepharitis since the cause is not clear.
Eye Smart—American Ophthalmology
National Eye Institute
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Blepharitis. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-blepharitis. Accessed December 20, 2017.
Blepharitis. American Optometric Association website. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/blepharitis?sso=y. Accessed December 20, 2017.
Blepharitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115284/Blepharitis. Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed December 20, 2017.
Facts about blepharitis. National Eye Institute website. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/blepharitis/blepharitis. Updated August 2009. Accessed December 20, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 12/20/2017