Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids in which they become red, irritated and itchy and dandruff-like scales form on the eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder caused by either bacteria or a skin condition, such as dandruff of the scalp or rosacea. It affects people of all ages. Although uncomfortable, blepharitis is usually not contagious and generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight.
Blepharitis is classified into two types:
- Anterior blepharitis occurs at the outside front edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes attach.
- Posterior blepharitis affects the inner edge of the eyelid that touches the eyeball.
People with blepharitis may experience a gritty or burning sensation in their eyes, excessive tearing, itching, red and swollen eyelids, dry eyes or crusting of the eyelids. For some people, blepharitis causes only minor irritation and itching. However, it can lead to more severe symptoms, such as blurring of vision, missing or misdirected eyelashes, and inflammation of other eye tissue, particularly the cornea. By touching and rubbing the irritated area, a secondary infection can also result. By touching and rubbing the irritated area, a secondary infection can also result.
In many cases, good hygiene can help control blepharitis. This includes frequently washing the scalp and face, using warm compresses to soak the eyelids and scrubbing the eyelids. When a bacterial infection is causing or accompanies blepharitis, antibiotics and other medications may be prescribed.