Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection, but it can also be a complication of a skin condition such as dermatitis.
Blepharitis is common, accounting for one in twenty eye conditions that are reported to GPs. Whilst it can be developed at any age, you are more likely to suffer from blepharitis after the age of forty. Blepharitis is not contagious.
What are the symptoms?
Red, itchy and swollen eyelids are the main symptoms. You may also experience crusty or greasy eyelashes, eyelids which stick together (especially when you first wake up), a gritty sensation in your eye, and sensitivity to light.
How is blepharitis treated?
The symptoms of blepharitis can be treated and controlled through good eye hygiene including a daily cleaning routine. Gently pressing a cloth or flannel doused with warm(not hot) water to your closed eyelids for between five and ten minutes will help melt the oils that are likely to have developed in the glands behind your eyelids. Microwaveable eye packs for this purpose are also available to buy if you prefer.
Contact lens wearers may want to switch to glasses whilst they have blepharitis to help get the symptoms under control.