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Blepharitis - Causes and Symptoms

Other Name: Granulated Eyelids.

Definition of Blepharitis:

Blepharitis refers to chronic inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis is one of the most common disorder of the eye and is often the underlying reason for eye discomfort, redness and tearing. It affects people of all ages. Among the most common causes of blepharitis are poor eyelid hygiene; excessive oil produced by the glands in the eyelid; a bacterial infection (often staphylococcal); or an allergic reaction.

Causes of Blepharitis

The exact cause is not known but people who have dandruff or dry skin conditions seem more prone to blepharitis. Some scientists say that, one of the common cause of blepharitis is by an infection of a common skin bacteria called Staphylococcus, other causes include seborrheic dermatitis (similar to dandruff along the edge of the eyelid).

There are two specific types of blepharitis:

  • Anterior Blepharitis - Anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelid and the most common causes of anterior blepharitis are bacteria (Staphylococcus) and seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Posterior Blepharitis - Posterior blepharitis affects the inner eyelid (the moist part that makes contact with the eye) and is caused by problems with the oil glands in this part of the eyelid. Two skin disorders can cause this type: rosacea, which leads to red flushing and inflamed skin, and scalp dandruff.

Blepharitis may be caused by a combination of factors. Less commonly, blepharitis may result from allergies or an infestation of lice on the eyelashes.

Symptoms of Blepharitis

Regardless of which type of blepharitis you have developed, you will probably have symptoms like eye burning, tearing, foreign body sensation, crusty debris (in the lashes, in the corner of the eyes or on the lids), dryness, and red eyelid margins. Other eye symptoms of blepharitis include: itching, light sensitivity, redness of the eye, blurred vision, frothy tears and an irritating, sandy, gritty sensation that is worse upon awakening.

This condition is characterized by excess oil production in the glands near the eyelid, which creates a favorable environment for the excess growth of bacteria that are normally present on the skin. The eyelids appear red and irritated, with scales that cling to the base of the eyelashes.

Some other Symptoms seen with Blepharitis may include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Eyelashes that grow abnormally (misdirected eyelashes)
  • Loss of eyelashes
  • your child rubbing his/her eyes
  • general discomfort of the eyes
  • seborrheic dermatitis on your child's head or face
  • eye drainage.

Treatment for Blepharitis

There is generally no cure for blepharitis, but it can be controlled by maintaining regular eyelid hygiene. The edges of the eyelids can be gently scrubbed with tearless shampoo using a cotton-tipped applicator or lint-free washcloth wrapped around the index finger. This process may be used several times a day until you see some improvement in the symptoms.

Some other Treatment options for Blepharitis may be:

  • Treatment for both forms of blepharitis involves keeping the lids clean and free of crusts. So, you may also apply warm compresses on the eyelids, it will help in loosening crusted secretions.
  • Antibiotic drops or or steroid eyedrops or ointments are sometimes prescribed in some severe cases.
  • The third step is application of an antibiotic ointment to the eyelid margin after it has been soaked and scrubbed. Commonly used agents include erythromycin or sulfacetamide ointments for long-term use. Antibiotic-corticosteroid ointment combinations can be used for short courses, although their use is less appropriate for long-term management.
  • Tell your child not to rub his/her eyes, as it may worsen the infection.
  • Instruct your child to wash his/her hands frequently.

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