Blepharitis (ble-fa-ri-tis) is a condition of the eyelids.

Both the upper and lower eyelids become coated with oily particles and bacteria near the base of the eyelashes. It may cause irritation, itchiness, redness, and stinging or burning of the eye. Often, this condition occurs in people who have a tendency towards oily skin, dandruff or dry eyes. Blepharitis also is associated with meibomitis, which is inflammation of the nearby oil glands of the eyelids (called meibomian glands).

What causes it?

It’s normal to have bacteria on the surface of your skin, but in some people, bacteria thrive at the base of the lashes. Large amounts of bacteria around the eyelashes can cause dandruff-like scales and particles to form along the lashes and eyelid margins.

How is it treated?
 

  • Warm compresses and eyelid scrubs as recommended (see below)
  • Antibiotic ointment prescribed by your eye doctor. Using a clean fingertip or cotton swab, gently apply a small amount at the base of the eyelashes before bedtime.
  • Artificial tears or steroid eye drops if your blepharitis is associated with dry eye inflammation.

Is there a cure?

Blepharitis is often a chronic condition, which means it doesn’t entirely go away, but can be managed with a treatment plan.