Do you wake up sometimes and notice a flaky matter on your eyelashes? Sometimes, the eyelids can even be stuck together by this flaky ‘stuff?’ The flaky matter is known as blepharitis (blef-uh-rye-tis). Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelashes that results from bacteria settling along the margin of the eyelids.
There are 2 types of blepharitis: anterior blepharitis and posterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis affects the outside of the eyelids near the lashes. Typically, this type is caused by bacterias that like the skin (the same bacterias that causes dandruff). It can also result from skin disorders that cause itchy, flaky red skin. Posterior blepharitis affects the part of the eyelid that touches the eye. This type results when the oil glands along the eyelid margin become blocked and no longer allow oil to flow from the glands.
The symptoms of both types are: eyelid irritation, burning, tearing, scratchy sensation, crusty debris (in the lashes, in the corner of the eyes, or on the lids), dryness, and red eyelid margins. If left untreated, blepharitis can cause the eyelashes to become thickened, loss of eyelashes, and can even result in having “lumps” (or styes) along the eyelids. Conjunctivitis’ or other eye infections can also occur.
The treatment for blepharitis generally starts with proper cleaning of the eyelids using an anti-bacterial eyewash or antibiotic drops or ointments. Warm compress and massaging the eyelids helps to relieve the blocked oil glands so that they flow properly. Artificial tear drops or ointments may be recommended when there are dry eye symptoms. In some cases, anti-inflammatory (steroid) drops or ointments may be prescribed.
Because blepharitis can be a chronic condition, lid hygiene is crucial in preventing its recurrence. Washing your hands before and after touching the eyelids is very important during treatment. Your eye care provider will advise you of products and proper techniques to use to relieve the symptoms and get this infection under control. A daily regimen of lid hygiene is helpful in preventing recurrences of blepharitis. Changing your pillow case and wash cloth on a regular basis can also help to reduce the recurrence.
If you are in need of an eye care provider, I invite you to visit
EnVision Eye Care.
321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course and VA
For appointments, call (912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com