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Patient education: Blepharitis (The Basics)

Patient education: Blepharitis (The Basics)

What is blepharitis? — Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. It can make the eyelids swell, and make the skin of the eyelids look red or darkened. The symptoms might get better and then come back. But blepharitis rarely causes problems with your vision.

Blepharitis is more common in people who have certain skin conditions, including:

Rosacea – This causes raised bumps on the cheeks, nose, chin, forehead, or eyelids. In people with lighter skin, the bumps and skin of the face usually look red.

Seborrheic dermatitis – This causes scaly or flaky patches and sometimes itching. It usually affects parts of the skin with many oil glands. Dandruff is a mild form of seborrhea. In people with lighter skin, the skin might look red. In people with darker skin, the skin might look dark brown or purple.

What are the symptoms of blepharitis? — The symptoms include:

Red-looking or darkened skin on the eyelids

Swollen and itchy eyelids

Gritty or burning feeling in the eyes

Red eyes

Crusty, matted eyelashes in the morning

Flaking or scaling of the eyelid skin (picture 1)

Is there a test for blepharitis? — No. There is no test. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have it by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam.

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. You can:

Put warm, wet pressure on your eyes – Wet a clean washcloth with warm (not hot) water and put it over your eyes. When the washcloth cools, reheat it with warm water and put it back over your eyes. Repeat these steps for 5 minutes, 2 to 4 times a day.

Gently rub your eyelids – Do this right after putting warm, wet pressure on your eyes. Use the washcloth or a clean fingertip to gently rub your eyelid in small circles.

Wash your eyelids – Use plain warm water or warm water with a drop of baby shampoo on a clean washcloth, gauze pad, or cotton swab. Gently clean any crusty material off of your eyelashes and eyelids. Do not rub hard or you can cause more irritation. You can also use over-the-counter eyelid scrubs and pads.

How is blepharitis treated? — If the treatments you do on your own do not help, your doctor might prescribe:

An antibiotic cream or ointment to put on your eyelids

Antibiotic pills

More on this topic

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This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jun 02, 2024.
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