Blepharitis is an eye condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the eyelid. Blepharitis has a number of causes and symptoms may vary significantly between people suffering from the disease. Blepharitis is often associated with other ocular diseases such as dry eye syndrome. At theOPTOMETRIST, we diagnose and treat Blepharitis in a number of ways, working with you and your GP for the best solution to reduce your symptoms and prevent recurrence.
There are two types of blepharitis:
Anterior blepharitis is commonly caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharits), allergies, mite infestation, or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis). It may also occur due to a combination of factors.
Posterior blepharitis can be caused by irregular oil production by the glands of the eyelids (meibomian blepharitis) which creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth. It can also develop as a result of other skin conditions such as acne rosacea and scalp dandruff.
Signs and symptoms that are associated with the Blepharitis include
Redness of the eyes and/or eyelids
Flaking of skin on the eyelids
Crusting at the eyelid margins (base of the eyelashes), generally worse on waking
Gritty sensation of the eye or foreign-body sensation
People suffering from Blepharitis may experience loss of eyelashes or abnormal growth of eyelashes; excess tearing/watery eyes or severe dry eyes; scarring of the eyelid margin; eye infections such as sty, chalazion or conjunctivitis; difficulty wearing contact lenses.
In many cases, Blepharitis is associated with dry eye syndrome and meibomian gland dysfunction. At theOPTOMETRIST, we treat dry eyes with the latest available technologies and will tailor a dry eye treatment action plan for you as part of your comprehensive dry eye assessment.
The single most important treatment of Blepharitis is a regular routine of eyelid hygiene. The routine needs to be convenient enough to be continued for life to avoid relapses as blepharitis is often a chronic condition.
What Causes Blepharitis?
The exact cause of blepharitis is not yet clear. However, blepharitis has been associated with a number of factors, including, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows); bacterial infection;meibomian gland dysfunction (clogged or malfunctioning oil glands in your eyelids); rosacea (a skin condition characterized by facial redness); allergies, including allergic reactions to eye medications; contact lens solutions or wearing eye makeup;demodex mite (eyelash mites or lice).
Independent studies have shown that blepharitis affects as many as 70 to 80 million Americans, and upwards of 80 percent of those patients could have Demodex mites.
Demodex is a category of tiny parasitic mites that live in or near hair follicles of mammals. The types of demodex that live on humans are referred to as eyelash mites. Older people are much more likely to carry the mites. About two-thirds of elderly people are estimated to carry the mites. Half of adults and about a third of children and young adults are infected. In the vast majority of cases the mites go unobserved without any adverse symptoms. However, in certain cases mite populations can dramatically increase causing itching, inflammation and irritation..
Diagnosis and treatment of Blepharitis
At theOPTOMETRIST we have the latest equipment in assessing the degree and causes of your condition. As part of your comprehensive eye exam, we examine the eyelid margin via microscope and perform digital baseline imagery as a record of the extent of your condition. A comprehensive dry eye examination will include assessment of the health of your meibomian glands, as well as symptoms associated with blepharitis such as red eyes and rapidly evaporating tear film.
Your optometrist will recommend a number of treatments, depending on the causes of your blepharitis. We can work with your GP or ophthalmologist to co-manage your condition. It is also important that you continue to maintain healthy lid hygiene as well as alter certain lifestyle factors as recommended by your optometrist. Blephadex foam cleansers and wipes are recommended above the standard eyelid wipes as they are designed specifically for patients with demodex Blepharitis.
In some cases, we will recommend treatment in our practice with Blephex, in-office lid scrub. This procedure takes about 8 minutes and works by debridement (removal) of biofilm and debris from the eyelids. Since the lid margin is the only place on the body that never gets washed, the bacterial formed biofilm tends to accumulate over the years, getting worse as we age.
Blephex can effectively offer relief while removing excessive oils and debris that may cause symptoms. The procedure is recommended every 6-8 months and should be performed in conjunction with at-home lid scrubs.
Blephadex Foam Cleansers and Wipes
Tea Tree Oil is the most effective treatment for blepharitis caused by demodex. Unlike many of the store bought lid scrubs or baby shampoo, blephadex offers a combination of cleanser with Tea Tree & Coconut Oil.
Blephadex for home use comes in either the convenience of a bottle of foaming cleanser or a box of pre-mositened wipes. Both these clinically proven treatment options include a patented combination of Tea Tree Oil, Coconut Oil and a gentle lid cleanser.
Easy to use.
Soothes and moisturises.
Every other day use.
Removes oil and debris.
Can be used for makeup removal.
Stimulates meibomian gland secretions.
Made in USA.
H. G. Sengbusch & J. W. Hauswirth (1986). “Prevalence of hair follicle mites, Demodex folliculorum and D. brevis (Acari: Demodicidae), in a selected human population in western New York, USA”. Journal of Medical Entomology 23 (4): 384–388. PMID 3735343.
The Life that Lives on Us. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Robert Buckman Human Wildlife
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. theOPTOMETRIST has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Please consult our optometrists, or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.