What is the definition of Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is inflamed, irritated, itchy, and reddened eyelids. It most often occurs where the eyelashes grow. Dandruff-like debris builds up at the base of the eyelashes as well.

What are the alternative names for Blepharitis?

Eyelid inflammation; Meibomian gland dysfunction

What are the causes for Blepharitis?

The exact cause of blepharitis is unknown. It is thought to be due to:

  • An overgrowth of bacteria.
  • A decrease or breakdown of the normal oils produced by the eyelid.

Blepharitis is more likely to be seen in people with:

  • A skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea. This problem involves the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, skin behind the ears, and the creases of the nose.
  • Allergies that affect the eyelashes (less common).
  • Excess growth of the bacteria that are normally found on the skin.
  • Rosacea, which is a skin condition that causes a red rash on the face.

What are the symptoms for Blepharitis?

Symptoms include:

  • Red, irritated eyelids
  • Scales that stick to the base of the eyelashes
  • Burning feeling in the eyelids
  • Crusting, itching and swelling of the eyelids

You may feel like you have sand or dust in your eye when you blink. Sometimes, the eyelashes may fall out. The eyelids may become scarred if the condition continues long-term.

What are the current treatments for Blepharitis?

Cleaning the edges of the eyelid every day will help remove excess bacteria and oil. Your provider might recommend using baby shampoo or special cleansers. Using an antibiotic ointment on the eyelid or taking antibiotic pills may help treat the problem. It may also help to take fish oil supplements.

If you have blepharitis:

  • Apply warm compresses to your eyes for 5 minutes, at least 2 times per day.
  • After the warm compresses, gently rub a solution of warm water and no-tears baby shampoo along your eyelid, where the lash meets the lid, using a cotton swab.

A device has recently been developed that can warm and massage the eyelids to increase the flow of oil from the glands. The role of this device remains unclear.

A drug containing hypochlorous acid, which is sprayed onto the eyelids, has been shown to be helpful in certain cases of blepharitis, especially when rosacea is also present.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Blepharitis?

The outcome is most often good with treatment. You may need to keep the eyelid clean to prevent the problem from coming back. Continuing treatment will ease redness and help make your eyes more comfortable.

Styes and chalazia are more common in people with blepharitis. 

When should I contact a medical professional for Blepharitis?

Contact your provider if symptoms get worse or do not improve after several days of carefully cleaning your eyelids.

How do I prevent Blepharitis?

Cleaning the eyelids carefully will help reduce the chances of getting blepharitis. Treat skin conditions that may add to the problem.



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Cioffi GA, Liebmann JM. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 395.

Isteitiya J, Gadaria-Rathod N, Fernandez KB, Asbell PA. Blepharitis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 4.4.

Kagkelaris KA, Makri OE, Georgakopoulos CD, Panayiotakopoulos GD. An eye for azithromycin: review of the literature. Ther Adv Ophthalmol. 2018;10:2515841418783622. PMID: 30083656 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30083656/.

  • Journal: BMC ophthalmology
  • Published —
PreserFlo MicroShunt® exposure: a case series.
  • Journal: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews
  • Published —
Oral antibiotics for chronic blepharitis.
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Participants: 120
  • Start Date: April 13, 2020
Clinical Correlation Between Facial Demodicosis and Ocular Demodicosis
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 60
  • Start Date: October 1, 2018
Pilot Project: Comparing the Short-term Effects on the Tear Film and Lid Margin Between Diluted Baby Shampoo and Blephaclean