Why are my eyelids always red? How come I have “crusties” on my eye lashes? Why is there “gunk” building up in the corner of my eye? Why do I get styes? Why do my eyelids stick together in the morning? If you are asking yourself those questions, you may have blepharitis. Blepharitis is common inflammatory eyelid condition. Some of the symptoms include redness or swelling of the eyelids, flakes on the lashes, misdirected or loss of lashes, burning, itching, a foreign body sensation, irritation and/or tearing. Blepharitis can affect the outside part of the eyelid where the eyelashes attach (anterior blepharitis) or it can affect the inner edge of the eye lid that touches the eye (posterior blepharitis).
So what causes blepharitis? The most common causes are bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis) and skin conditions like dandruff and acne rosacea (seborrheic blepharitis). Rarely, allergies, a mite infestation, or viruses can cause blepharitis.
Blepharitis is diagnosed by ophthalmologists or optometrists through a careful history of symptoms, evaluation of the eyelids and eye and a careful evaluation of the tears. Untreated blepharitis can cause dry eyes to worsen, permanent loss of lashes, notches in the eyelid, styes and, in worst case scenarios, even scarring of the cornea.
Treatment depends on the type of blepharitis. Eyelid hygiene typically helps for most types of blepharitis. This includes warm compresses over the eyelids daily, gentle cleansing of the eyelashes with a non-irritating soap (baby shampoo) and the use of artificial tears. Some types of blepharitis require prescription eye drops, ointments or oral antibiotics. We can help you with the appropriate treatment for your situation at your next appointment.
Dr. James Ivanoski practices comprehensive optometry at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans. For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com