Here you can discover the most important eye diseases and we will help you to recognise their symptoms and tell you how each condition is treated.
What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an inflammation caused by excess fat production by the glands in the upper and lower margins of the eyelid. This fat accumulates on the eyelid in the form of dandruff-like scales, causing inflammation that can lead to bacterial infections. Eyelids affected by blepharitis usually look red, scaly and inflamed, and it often affects both eyes. Patients with a history of disorders such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, rosacea and hormonal imbalances tend to be more likely to develop blepharitis.
There are two types of blepharitis, depending on which part of the eyelid is affected (anterior or posterior). Cases of blepharitis can be classified as:
- Staphylococcal blepharitis: caused by a type of bacteria, staphylococcus, which can cause crusting and hard scales, conjunctivitis and eyelash loss (although they normally grow back after some time).
- Seborrhoeic blepharitis: caused by excess fat build-up on the margin of the eyelid; although it does not usually have symptoms like the staphylococcal type, it can cause inflammation and redness in the area.
- Mixed blepharitis: excess fat build-up that can lead to bacterial infections.
Some of the characteristic symptoms associated with blepharitis are:
- Redness of the eyes
- Crusting or scales on the eyelashes
- Eyelids look greasy and sticky
- Inflammation, pain and itching in the area
- Foreign body sensation
- More frequent blinking
- Loss of eyelashes
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Watery eyes
- Abnormal growth of eyelashes (deviated eyelashes)
Although there is no cure for blepharitis, there are treatments to control the symptoms:
- Warm water compresses: it is important to ensure constant adequate daily hygiene in the eyelid area, applying warm water compresses to the area. It is recommendable to place a wrung-out compress on closed eyelids for about 5 minutes and massage the area vertically towards the root of the eyelashes to help loosen the crusts that are adhered to the eyelid and clean the area of grease and bacteria. After that, the area can be cleaned with a soapy solution or special wipes.
- Antibiotics: in some cases, antibiotic or anti-inflammatory ointments and eye drops may be required. It is recommended that they should be gently applied to the base of the eyelids.
- Eye drops: their application may help control itching, dryness and redness of the eyes.