Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids, causes uncomfortable symptoms, can temporarily affect your vision, and is a challenge to manage. The doctors at Eye Care Center of Kauai, in Lihue, Hawaii, understand the challenge of swollen, itchy eyelids and burning eyes, not to mention the dismay over your appearance. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment for an eye exam so you can get on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

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What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. While it’s a common condition, it can be hard to manage because once it develops, it often recurs. There are two types of blepharitis; each has its own cause:

Anterior blepharitis
Anterior blepharitis affects the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes are attached. This is usually caused by bacteria or dandruff from the scalp and eyebrows. Bacteria naturally grow on your skin, but when too much of the wrong type of bacteria grows, an infection develops.

Posterior blepharitis
Posterior blepharitis affects the inner eyelid that makes contact with the eye. In this case, blepharitis is caused by problems with oil glands, which can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria. Rosacea and dandruff can also cause posterior blepharitis.

What symptoms indicate you may have blepharitis?

Blepharitis can be very uncomfortable, with symptoms such as:

  • Red, swollen eyelids
  • Itching
  • Gritty, burning sensation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Dry eyes
  • Crusting of the eyelids
  • Blurry vision (temporary)
  • Inflammation of other eye tissue

If you have these symptoms, contact Eye Care Center of Kauai so the doctors can help you get some relief. In the meantime, don’t touch or rub the irritated area because that may lead to a secondary infection.

How is blepharitis treated?

Since there isn’t a way to cure blepharitis, symptoms are treated while you wait for the infection to resolve. Personal care is always a key part of treatment, but your doctor at the Eye Care Center of Kauai may also prescribe some medications, depending on the type and severity of your blepharitis. Treatment may consist of any of the following:

Warm compresses
Use warm compresses to loosen and remove flakes and help prevent oil glands from clogging. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out, then place it over your eyes for at least 1 minute.

Eyelid scrubs
Use a washcloth or cotton swab and warm water to gently scrub the base of your eyelashes.

The doctors at Eye Care Center of Kauai may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to be applied to your eyelashes. In some cases, an oral antibiotic may be necessary.

Eye drops
Artificial tears, steroid eye drops, or antibiotic eye drops may help reduce redness, swelling and dry eye.

Skin and eyelid hygiene
The best way to keep blepharitis under control is to diligently wash your eyelashes, hair, scalp and eyebrows, and to maintain a regular skin care routine. Your doctor will give you some recommendations about self-care and the type of products to use.