Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids. Eyelids become itchy, red and irritated. Scales similar to dandruff also form on the base of the eyelashes. The eyes would most likely experience a burning sensation and it could become itchy and dry. Blepharitis is either due to a bacteria or a skin condition like dandruff or acne rosacea. It could cause misdirected eyelashes, swollen cornea, or blurred vision.

Blepharitis is a common eye problem affecting people of all ages. The level of discomfort it would cause would depend on its severity. It is not contagious and permanent damage to eyesight is not likely.

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Four Types of Blepharitis

1.    Anterior Blepharitis. This is likely due to bacteria or to dandruff in the scalp and eyebrows. This occurs at the eyelid’s outside front edge attached to the eyelashes.  Regular gentle cleaning with prescribed lid wipes will control this but it tends to recur.


2.    Posterior Blepharitis. This is due to growth of bacteria caused by the irregular production of oil in the eyelid glands. This may also be caused by skin conditions like dandruff in the scalp or acne rosacea. This occurs in the eyelid’s inner edge that has contact with the eyeball.


3.    Angular Blepharitis. This is caused by bacteria where the top eyelid meets the bottom eyelid on the side towards the ear.  This is usually treated with an antibiotic ointment a few times per day for a week.  It is important not to rub the eye as you will reinfect it.


4.    Chronic Blepharitis.  Early treatment will normally not allow this presentation to occur.  Notice the loss in eyelashes and the ulceration that occurs on the lids.  Make sure if you have any form of Blepharitis that you seek a consultation for prompt treatment.


Diagnosis of Blepharitis

A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist is necessary to diagnose blepharitis. The front surface of the eyeball and the eyelids will be evaluated. Your optometrist may perform the following:

1.    Inquire about your medical history to determine if you have other health problems causing the eye problem;

2.    Examine the eye externally. The following may be examined: appearance of the eyelash, texture of the skin, and structure of the lid;

3.    Use bright light and magnification to evaluate eyelash base, openings of the meibomian gland, and margins of the lid;

4.    Evaluate the tears with regard to quality and quantity to determine if there are any abnormalities.

Your optometrist will determine the appropriate treatment depending on the data gathered from the testing.

Treating Blepharitis

Most types of blepharitis can be cured by cleaning the eyelids regularly and making it free of crusts. Here are some common home remedies for blepharitis:

1.    To cure blepharitis, limit or completely stop the use of eye make-up;

2.    During treatment, temporarily discontinue use of contact lenses;

3.    To clean oil that accumulate in the eyelid glands, massage the eyelids;

4.    To loosen the crusts, apply warm compress then mix water with baby shampoo or other lid cleansing product and use this to gently scrub the eyes;

5.    Use anti-dandruff shampoo on the scalp.

Different types of blepharitis would require different treatments. The more serious cases might need more extensive procedures. The home remedies listed above may be supplemented by medications such as antibiotics if the blepharitis is caused by bacteria. Lubricating ointments or artificial tear solutions may also be prescribed.

Some optometrists would also recommend omega-3 fatty acids nutritional supplements to improve the function of the oil glands of the eyelids.  In fact we recommend Thera Tears Nutrition, which is specifically designed for treating Blepharitis, Dry Eyes and its associated inflammation.  Go to our BLEPHARITIS PRODUCT PAGE to read more about it and even purchase it.  We can deliver it anywhere in Australia.

For those that like videos the following is a nice summary of Blepharitis:

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Blepharitis may recur even if it has been treated successfully. It is often chronic or it seldom disappears completely so maintaining proper eye hygiene is definitely important.

Please feel to contact us at: info@theeyepractice.com.au


  1. Peggy Taylor says:

    I also have glaucoma and thus have not been prescribed cortisone because this may cause increased pressure in the eye. I use hot packs and scrub bot eyelids with baby shampoo applied with a cotton bud. I also use Cellufresh eye drops. My query is How often should I use the hot pack and cleansing routine and how often should i use the eye drops?
    Thank You

    • Jim says:

      Hi Peggy
      Sorry for the late reply.
      This is a tough one as cortisone is great a reducing the redness. Of late the best treatment for blepharitis is a procedure called BlephEX. I have patients travelling from all around the country for this and most a delighted with the outcome. baby shampoo I do not recommend as it is an irritant. Heat sometimes also is an irritant – both of these treatments are outdated and have been used for a 100 years.

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