Eye

Blepharitis | Dry Eye

What is Blepharitis?

Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis) occurs when the tiny oil glands of the inner eyelid become clogged, irritated and then inflamed. It is often a chronic condition that affects both eyelids and is often associated with other ocular diseases such as dry eye syndrome.

 

Until recently, patients suffering from blepharitis and dry eyes had to rely on eye drops and eyelid wash which sometimes provided limited results in the hope of minimising their dry eye symptoms.

What causes Blepharitis?

The exact cause of blepharitis cannot always be diagnosed but a number of factors may increase your risk of blepharitis and trigger eyelid inflammation. This includes dandruff on your scalp/eyebrows, demodex (mites), bacterial infection, malfunctioning oil gland, rosacea, allergic reaction such to eye medications and to makeup. 

 

Also the eyelid margins are rarely cleaned so over time the normal bacteria that lives on our lid margins become over-colonised. This then forms a biofilm which is a film that hardens like lacquer along the eyelid margins. It doesn’t go away in time but just gets thicker with age. This allows more bacteria to build up which triggers the eyelid inflammation.

Types of Blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis

  • Anterior blepharitis: occurs on the outside of your eye where your eyelashes are located. It is commonly caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis), mite (demodex) infestation, allergies and/or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis). 

  • Posterior blepharitis: occurs on the inner edge of eyelids closest to your eye. It can be developed by irregular oil production by the glands of the eyelids (meibomian glands) which creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth. It can also occur as a result of other skin conditions such as acne rosacea and scalp dandruff.

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Prevalence

Blepharitis can affect anyone of any age and the risk of developing blepharitis increases with age.

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Dry eyes

  • Gritty, burning or stinging eyes

  • Watery eyes

  • Itchy eyes

  • Red and swollen eyes or eyelids

  • Eyelids sticking

  • Tears that are foamy or have small bubbles in them

  • Crusty eyelids or eyelashes when you wake up

  • Feels like there’s something in your eye

  • Sensitivity to light

Blepharitis can also cause more serious problems like:

  • Blurry vision

  • Eyelashes that grow in the wrong direction

  • Loss of eyelashes 

  • Swelling of other parts of the eye, like the cornea

  • Eye infections such as stye and chalazion

Optometrist and Treatment Options

Our Optometrist Dr Queenie Chau will conduct a thorough Dry Eye assessment in your first appointment and then prescribe an appropriate treatment plan. 

 

We want patients to finally enjoy a life free from the chronic and irritating symptoms associated with blepharitis so we included Blephex - an in-office device that uses the latest technology to treat blepharitis and dry eyes in our treatment options. 

 

Blephex is best compared to seeing your dentist for a good clean as it gently exfoliates the eyelids and eyelashes. It works by removing the exotoxin-laden biofilm that accumulates on the eyelid, providing rapid relief from eyelid inflammation symptoms. This painless procedure effectively removes scurf, mites and bacteria that build up along the lid margin. Getting blepharitis can be as simple as two to three BlephEx procedures annually. For more information on BlephEx, click here.

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Prognosis

In most cases, Blepharitis rarely disappears completely. While the results of BlephEx can be almost immediate, they are not permanent. The procedure will need to be repeated annually to maintain the result and regular eyelid hygiene at home such as eyelid scrubs, much like the professional removal of plaque and tartar from your teeth at the dentist and flossing at home.

Summary

Each blepharitis case may present differently. If you have questions about the best management for your symptoms. Please consult your optometrist for their opinion. 

 

Alternatively, you are most welcome to call us on 1300 12 12 88, Balmain Vision. Our optometrist is more than happy to assist you through your journey to healthy eyes.

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