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Blepharitis is INFLAMMATION of the eyelids. The most common causes are INFECTION and irritation. Anterior blepharitis is inflammination of the outer surface of the eyelid, typically along the rim at the base of the eyelashes. Posterior blepharitis affects the inner surface of the eyelid, typically resulting from blocked oil glands (meibomian glands) along the eyelid.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
Symptoms may include
- itching or burning sensation
- crusting along the eyelids, especially upon awakening
- swelling and redness
- PHOTOPHOBIA (excessive light sensitivity)
- excessive tearing
- blurry vision
Treatment for Blepharitis
Blepharitis may develop as a result of other conditions such as DERMATITIS or ROSACEA (disorders that cause SKIN inflammation). When this is the case, treatment targets the underlying condition. When the cause of the inflammation is bacterial, treatment is topical and sometimes oral ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS. Occasionally the viruses HERPES SIMPLEX I (which causes cold sores) and HERPES ZOSTER (which causes shingles) can infect the eyes.
Viral infections such as these cause symptoms until they run their course, typically in 7 to 10 days. Whatever the cause of the inflammation, moist, warm compresses help loosen crusted secretions and keep the eyelids clean. EYE care professionals recommend gently washing the eyelids with a mixture of water and baby (tear-free) shampoo. Blepharitis tends to be chronic so good eyelid hygiene helps minimize recurrences as well as discomfort during episodes.