May also be called: Anterior Blepharitis; Posterior Blepharitis; Lid Margin
Disease; Meibomian Gland Disease
Blepharitis (blef-uh-RY-tis) is swelling or inflammation of the eyelids.
More to Know
Blepharitis is a common disorder that causes red, watery eyes
and itchy, burning eyelids. It can also cause crusty scales that stick to the base
of the eyelashes.
Much of the time, blepharitis only causes irritation, but in some cases it can
make eyelashes fall out, or cause styes,
scarring of the eyelids, and injury to the cornea (the clear part at the front of
There are two types of blepharitis:
Anterior blepharitis affects the front edge of the eyelid where
the eyelashes are attached. It's most commonly caused by bacterial infections or skin
conditions such as sebhorrheic dermatitis (dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows) or
rosacea (a condition that causes facial redness).
Posterior blepharitis affects the inner part of the eyelid that
comes in contact with the eyeball. It's usually caused by malfunctioning oil glands
in the eyelid (called meibomian glands).
Treatment for blepharitis depends on the type of blepharitis and the condition
causing it. In many cases, treatment can be as simple as cleaning the eyelids regularly
with a warm washcloth. Other times, lubricating eye drops or ointments may be used.
If the blepharitis is caused by a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotic
Keep in Mind
Blepharitis can be hard to treat and often occurs again, but generally it does
not damage a person's vision. Treating any underlying conditions and keeping the eyelids
clean can help minimize symptoms. So can limiting the use of contact lenses and eye
makeup during treatment.
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