Reaction to certain medications like isotretinoin or antihistamines
Infections—most often bacterial but can be viral, parasitic, or fungal
Factors that may increase your chance of blepharitis include:
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
Factors that can make symptoms worse include:
Exposure to smoke or allergens
Eye makeup—especially if it is left on overnight
Use of retinoids—can be found in skin creams or medications
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:
Dry eyes or excess watering
Burning or feeling of grit in the eyes
Redness, flaky skin, and oily secretions along the edge of the eyelid
Crusty material clinging to the eyelashes, eyelids feel glued together in the morning
More severe blepharitis can cause:
Blurring of vision
Ulcers or sores at the base of the eyelashes (in severe cases)
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:
Culture—to look for bacteria, viruses, or fungus that may be present
—sample of tissue from eyelid is examined under a microscope to look for any abnormalities
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:
Topical antibiotics—applied directly to eyelid or eye
Topical corticosteroids—may help with severe inflammation
Oral antibiotics—for blepharitis that does not respond to topical treatment, rare option
There are no known ways reduce your chance of blepharitis since the cause is not clear.
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.
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