Blepharitis is a medical condition that relates to the inflammation of the eyelids and eyelashes. Blepharitis is usually caused by an excess growth of bacteria ordinarily found on the skin, blockage of oil glands found on the eyelid margin and occasionally allergies. Blepharitis is a very common condition that causes the eyelids to be itchy, red, irritated and flaky or scaly at the eyelashes. This disease is categorized as either anterior or posterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelids around the base of the eyelashes. Staphylococcal and seborrheic blepharitis are the two types that can arise from anterior blepharitis. Staphylococcal blepharitis is an infection of the anterior portion of the eyelid by staphylococcal bacteria. Patients usually feel a foreign body sensation, matting of the lashes and burning.
This condition can sometimes lead to a chalazion or stye as well as madarosis in serious situations. Without treatment, it may cause long-term effects like ectropion, thickened lid margins, mild sticking of lids, telangiectasia, trichiasis and entropion. If trichiasis and entropion are apparent then the cornea can acquire erosion from the rubbing of the lashes, which can cause a decrease in vision. Staphylococcal blepharitis may start in childhood and continue through adulthood. This is usually recurrent and requires special medical treatment. The treatment is antibiotics for at least 4 to 6 weeks to completely cure the infection, but a topical steroid is given as well to control the inflammation.
This infection is treated effectively when the patient is compliant with proper eyelid hygiene. Seborrheic blepharitis is associated with the skin condition seborrheic dermatitis. In this condition the affected skin on the eyelids becomes more oily and scaly. The lashes on the eyelid usually have a sleeve of scales along the whole lash. This is a common sign for this type of blepharitis. Seborrheic blepharitis is more prominent in the elder population and is treated more through eyelid hygiene. Posterior blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids secondary to dysfunction of the meibomian glands. It is a bilateral chronic condition that causes lid inflammation and plugging of the meibomian orifices and production of abnormal secretion upon pressure over the glands. This blepharitis is associated with acne rosacea and can be apparent from demodex mites.
The symptoms of blepharitis include:
Blepharitis is an incurable disease, but it can be managed and controlled with the proper treatment or eyelid hygiene. If it is not treated then blepharitis can lead to many serious conditions like scarring or damage to eye tissue. Individuals with blepharitis can take the following steps to help treat this condition: