Help and frequently asked questions

What is the treatment for blepharitis?

Answer: 

There is no one-off cure for blepharitis. However, the condition can be controlled and prevented in several ways, which will ease discomfort and reduce the symptoms. Blepharitis is chronic inflammation of the eyelids that can range in severity. While it is not usually a serious problem, the condition can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for many sufferers. Often affecting both eyes, blepharitis rarely creates eyesight issues but visiting an optometrist will ensure you receive the best advice on how to deal with the condition.

Eyelid hygiene

The most important treatment is regular and thorough eyelid hygiene. Daily care will not only soothe existing symptoms, but should also act as a safeguard against future flare-ups. Blepharitis can be caused by an infection, dysfunctional meibomian glands or a skin irritation, but proper eyelid hygiene should ease the symptoms in all three cases. Consult with your optometrist to learn the best methods for thorough eyelid hygiene in your particular case, but the process will usually involve applying heat to the area, massaging the eyelids and then cleaning them. You should aim to soothe the eyelids, unplug any meibomian glands and remove debris or stagnant oily secretions in cases where this is the problem.

How does the treatment work?

Applying heat to the eyelids and gently massaging them will push out accumulated oily fluid in the glands. The warmth should have softened the skin and made the oils less viscous to ease the process.Cotton buds dipped in a mixture of water and baby shampoo is a common technique for cleaning the eyelids after massaging them. There are also special eyelid scrubs available.Itchy eyes are a common symptom of blepharitis, but try to avoid rubbing them as this often causes inflammation to worsen.Research has also shown that dietary supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oils and flaxseed, can also alleviate symptoms.

Further treatmentIf you are unable to control the symptoms yourself, you should seek further medical attention, or see your optometrist, which may result in you being prescribed antibiotics or topical steroids. Topical treatments will involve applying an ointment or eye drop to the affected area, while oral antibiotics may be required where skin conditions are aggravating your blepharitis.Antibiotics will be prescribed for between four and six weeks, and you should make sure to continue the treatment even if your symptoms clear up early.

I wear contact lenses, does this matter?

Yes. Contact lens wearers may find their lenses feel uncomfortable when blepharitis flares up. Not only this, contact lenses should not be worn if you have been prescribed topical ointments or creams.If wearing contact lenses is essential for any reason, such as for your job, make sure to inform your optometrist or eye specialist. They may recommend another treatment or offer guidance on additional medications that can ease your discomfort.It is also important to limit the amount of eye make-up you use when suffering blepharitis, as it will make effective eyelid hygiene more difficult.

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