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What is Blepharitis:


Blepharitis a generic term for an inflammation of the edge of the eyelids. There are two categories of Blepharitis.

Anterior blepharitis has 2 causes: by an overgrowth of the normal skin flora (bacteria), or a seborrhic oily/greasy skin. In the first type, bacteria, while growing at the opening of the oil glands (sebaceous glands of Zeiss) on the edge of the lid, excrete an exotoxin into the tears that causes the eyes to become irritated. In the seborrhic form, there are flakes and crusts in the lashes, these cause ulcers at the lid edge.

In Posterior Blepharitis, the meibomian oil glands become blocked (this is called MGD or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction), keeping essential oils from lubricating the eye. There is also an engorgement of the blood vessels on the lid margin (http://dryeyezone.com/encyclopedia/mgcare.html)



  • Redness of the eyelids, especially the edge
  • Swelling and tenderness of the eyelids
  • Itching around the lashes
  • Greasy flakes or scales around the lashes
  • Hard crusts at the base of the lashes, especially upon waking



Our eye doctors can diagnose blepharitis by checking your eyelids and lashes closely with a special microscope. Blepharitis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. Most times warm compresses and cleaning the lashes will control the blepharitis, however some people will need oral antibiotics. To clean the lashes, first do a warm, moist compress for 3 to 5 minutes. Then using either baby shampoo or one of the the commercially packaged preparations (www.theratears.com/sterilid.php), wash the lashes to massage the oil glands, then rinse your face. Doing this twice a day for several weeks often helps control the problem.

Some people with acne rosacea are especially prone to blepharitis and may require a long term, low dose oral antibiotic to keep the blepharitis/acne rosacea under control.