- Seborrheic blepharitis—Skin cells shed more rapidly than normal due to a sebaceous gland that is not functioning properly. The sebaceous gland secretes oil to the skin. The presence of excess oil and skin cells help bacteria grow.
- Infectious blepharitis—Bacteria, in particular, staphylococcus, cause an infection in the glands along the eyelid.
- Contact dermatitis blepharitis—Something coming in contact with the eyelid leads to local inflammation. For example, mascara may produce such an allergic reaction.
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- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Acne rosacea
- Contact allergies
- Chemical irritants
- Poor hygiene
- Cosmetic makeup
- Advanced age
- Redness, flaky skin, and oily secretions along the edge of the eyelid
- Crusty material clinging to the eyelashes
- Eyelids “glued together” in the morning
- Dry scales or dandruff-type material on the scalp and eyebrows
- Itching or burning sensation
- Light sensitivity
- Sensation of a foreign object in the eye
- Ulcers or sores at the base of the eyelashes (in severe cases)
- Scant, broken eyelashes
- Chalazion (nonpainful bumps in the eyelid), which may become infected (called a stye)
- Conjunctivitis (occasionally)
- Thoroughly wash your hands before performing any eye care.
- Run a washcloth under warm water.
- Place the warm washcloth on your eyelids for 5-15 minutes. This warm compress helps to loosen crust.
- With your eyes closed, wash the eyelids with a special eyelid cleanser or diluted baby shampoo. Use a clean cotton ball for each eye.
- Rinse with cool water.
- If your doctor advises, wash your eyelids as described above and apply the ointment with a cotton-tipped applicator.
- For a mild case, you may only need ointment at bedtime.
- If the infection is more severe, you may need to apply the ointment up to four times daily.
- Once resolved, your doctor may advise you to apply the ointment nightly to prevent another episode.
- If blepharitis returns after topical treatment, you may be given oral antibiotics, though this is rarely necessary.
- If oral antibiotics are necessary, they will need to be taken for an extended period, up to six weeks.
- Always wash your hands before touching your eyelids.
- Wash your hair and face daily.
- Wash your eyelids nightly as described above.
- Try to avoid using cosmetic makeup.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home.html
The American Optometric Association http://www.aoa.org
Canadian Family Physician http://www.cfp.ca
Canadian Ophthalmological Society http://www.cos-sco.ca/
American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.aao.org/.
Carter SR. Eyelid disorders: Diagnosis and Management. American Family Physician website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0601/p2695.html. Published June 1998. Accessed June 30, 2009.
Cecil RL, Goldman L, Bennett J. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2000.
Dambro MR. Griffith's 5-Minute Clinical Consult . 2001 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2001.
Goroll AH, Mulley AG. Goroll: Primary Care Medicine . 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.
Mandell GL, Douglas RG, Bennett JE, Dolin R. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases . 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA:Churchill Livingstone, Inc.; 2000.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2013 -