Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Patients with blepharitis suffer from red, itchy, swollen lids with crusts in the lashes.
We often recommend warm compresses for blepharitis because they help to thin the oil inside the glands which can help drain them. It can be very frustrating for patients to run warm water on a washcloth only to have it cool off thirty seconds later. For warm compresses to be effective, they need to stay on your eyelids for 10-12 minutes. I find using a warming mask that can be heated in the microwave far more effective because it stays warm much longer. You can also wash the masks and reuse them multiple times.
No more baby shampoo!
Lid hygiene is very important in the treatment of blepharitis. There are a number of lid cleansers available over the counter. Always use a cleanser that is meant for the eyelids. We no longer recommend the use of diluted baby shampoo. Baby shampoo isn’t meant for the eyelids. It contains synthetic detergents that can alter the normal pH levels of the lids. Many patients develop allergies to the ingredients and it can clog the oil-secreting glands. It can actually do more harm than good.
Mites in my lashes?
The latest research shows blepharitis is often associated with Demodex mites. Demodex is a parasite that lives on our skin. When demodex multiplies, it causes an infection of the eyelid and oil-secreting glands in the eyelids. For demodex infections, I recommend using a cleanser that contains tea tree oil such as Theralid Eyelid Cleanser.
Dr Angela Issa, optometrist