Blepharitis: What’s it? Symptoms. Treatment. Hygiene Tips.

Blepharitis is a common eye condition in which the eyelids get inflamed and become red and swollen, and can form dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes. People suffering from the condition may experience a burning sensation in their eyes.

Although some people experience only minor irritation; but if the condition is left untreated, it can lead to further complications such as misdirected or missing eyelashes, blurry vision, and inflammation of other eye tissue.

Let’s discuss different types of Blepharitis

Anterior Blepharitis – affects the outer edge of the eyelid, near the eyelashes.

Posterior Blepharitis – occurs at the inner edge of the eyelid which touches the eyeball.

Mixed Blepharitis – it is a combination of both Anterior Blepharitis and Posterior Blepharitis.


Blepharitis (in general) is caused either by bacteria or skin condition. Other causes of Blepharitis include Dry Eyes, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), Parasites (Demodex eyelash mites), and Fungal Eyelid Infection.

Anterior Blepharitis

There are two major reasons for Anterior Blepharitis – dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis) or bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis). In normal circumstances, bacteria are found on the face and eyelids. But when they become excessive, the eye lid area gets affected.

Posterior Blepharitis

This type of Blepharitis generally occurs when there’s irregular production of oil in the eyelids. As a result, excessive oil presence creates a favourable environment for bacterial growth. Skin conditions such as scalp dandruff and Rosacea also cause Posterior Blepharitis to occur.

Mixed Blepharitis

Mixed Blepharitis is a combination of Anterior Blepharitis and Posterior Blepharitis.


The most common symptoms of all types of Blepharitis include reddening and swelling of the eyelids. Other symptoms of the condition include:

  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • Eyelids that stick together
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • Abnormal eyelash growth
  • Uncomfortable feeling while wearing contact lens
  • Blurry vision
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Watery eyes
  • Stinging sensation
  • Frequent blinking
  • Flaking of the skin around the eyes


Blepharitis is generally diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam. During the eye examination, the doctor lays special emphasis on the eyelids and the front surface of the eyeball.

Some of the steps taken during the eye exam include:

  • The doctor may go through the patient’s history to check whether there are any symptoms or health complications that are causing the disease.
  • The doctor will examine the lid margins, meibomian gland openings, and base of the eyelashes using magnification and bright light.
  • The doctor will also examine the eye as a whole – including eyelash appearance, skin texture, and lid structure.
  • The doctor will also evaluate the quality and quantity of tears to check for any abnormalities which might be fostering the development of the condition.

During the eye exam, the doctor will also check signs and appearance of the eyelid margin to determine the type of Blepharitis. The symptoms which help doctors to evaluate the type of Blepharitis include:

Meibomian Blepharitis – the signs include redness of the eyelids, poor quality of tears, and blockage of the oil glands in the eyelids.

Ulcerative Blepharitis – sign for this type of Blepharitis include chronic tearing of the front edge of the eyelids, eyelash loss, formation of hard crusts around the eyes and removal of the crusts leading to sores that bleed.

Seborrheic Blepharitis
– this type of Blepharitis is characterised by mild redness of the eyelids and formation of greasy flakes around the base of the eyelashes.

Staphylococcal Blepharitis – this type of Blepharitis is characterised by misdirected or missing eyelashes, thickened lid margins, and mildly sticking eyelids.


Treatment for Blepharitis depends upon the type of the condition and cannot usually be cured. The most common form of treating Blepharitis is eyelid hygiene.

Here are some of the available treatments for Blepharitis.

Oily tear eye drops

Oily tear eye drops are helpful if there’s quick drying of the tears. These eye drops replace the oily layer of the tear film which reduces evaporation of tears from the surface of the eye.

Oral antibiotics

Doctors may prescribe antibiotics as they can be used as anti-inflammatory agents for three or four months. In some cases, other treatments don’t work for Blepharitis; in such situations, patients may require taking the antibiotic orally.

If it’s Rosacea that’s causing Blepharitis, then the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics during the starting of the treatment. Although patients may respond well during the first week of the treatment,doctors insist on completing the course of antibiotics, visit

Antibiotic drops and ointments

When regular cleaning is not effective for Blepharitis, the doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotic ointment, eye drops or creams. These are usually to be used for 4 to 6 weeks.

Patients are required to rub ointment gently on the edge of the eyelids using either cotton buds or clean fingers. Patients are required to do this only when the condition begins to improve.

When using the antibiotic eye drops, patients should avoid wearing contact lenses. This is because the eye drop builds up behind the lenses which may irritate the eyes and cause further complications.


Omega 3 helps in treating the condition or, at the least, improves it. Some of the foods that are high in Omega 3 protein include:

  • Fresh tuna ( and not the canned ones as they do not contain beneficial oils)
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring

It is often advised that people with Blepharitis should eat at least two portions of fish a week. Other food sources of Omega 3 include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Soya and soya products
  • Vegetable Oils
  • Various nuts and seeds

Hygiene Tips

The key to relieving the symptoms and treating the condition is maintaining eyelid hygiene. Keeping the eyelid and lid margin clean is necessary as Blepharitis can reoccur.

Eyelid hygiene

If you have Blepharitis, then it is very important to clean your eyes and eyelids every day even if you aren’t experiencing any symptom or are on medication. Good eyelid hygiene can relieve the symptoms of the condition and even prevent it.

Some of the steps to keep the eyelids clean include:

Warm Compresses

This is one of the most common eyelid hygiene practices.

  • Take a bowl of lukewarm water
  • Soak a clean eye pad or a flannel in the lukewarm water and place it in the eyes for 10 minutes
  • Reheat the eye pad by soaking it in the warm water again

Lid Margin hygiene

Another great way to keep the eyelid clean is to buy commercially available (over the counter) eye drops from the market.

When you are diagnosed with Blepharitis, the doctor may prescribe you a suitable cleaning solution. It is very important that you continue to maintain lid margin hygiene for at least 2 to 3 weeks. Doing this helps to prevent the permanent scarring of the eyelid margins.

Eyelid massage

Massaging the eyelids may help relieve the discomfort caused by the condition. One of the best ways to massage the eye lids is to roll your little finger with a circular motion over the closed eyes.

Another way to massage the eyelids is to roll a cotton bud downwards gently towards the edge of the eyelids while keeping the eyes shut. Doing this helps to push out melted oil out of the glands. Repeat this process over several times.

Eye hospital in Kolkata

Are you suffering from eye disorders? If yes, then consult with eye health care experts at Dish Eye Hospital and get suitable treatment solutions.

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