Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. Patients with blepharitis suffer from red, itchy, swollen lids with crusts in the lashes.
Management of blepharitis includes warm compresses which help to thin the oil inside the glands. It can be very frustrating to run warm water on a washcloth only to have it cool off 30 seconds later. For warm compresses to be effective, they need to stay on your lids for 10-12 minutes. Warming masks that can be heated in the microwave are far more effective. They can be worn as a mask and stay warm much longer.
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 make sure you 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. In blepharitis, demodex multiplies and causes an infection of the eyelid and oil-secreting glands in the lid. Demodex is best treated with cleansers that contain tea tree oil such as Theralid Eyelid Cleanser.
My watery eyes are dry?
Blepharitis is often associated with dry eye. In blepharitis, the glands become blocked and fail to secrete adequate oils to keep the eye from drying out. Since the oily part of the tears is deficient, the tears will evaporate quickly. Your lacrimal gland ends up producing more of the aqueous or watery part of the tears as result and you end of up tearing more than usual. It is not uncommon for patients with evaporative dry eye to have tears rolling down their cheeks on a windy day. Patients often consult for tearing and are surprised to learn the diagnosis is actually dry eye! Evaporative dry eye symptoms can be alleviated with artificial tears that aid the lipid layer of the tear film.
Consult your optometrist if you have symptoms of blepharitis.