BLEPHARITIS is an inflammation of the edge of the eyelids. There is a scaly dryness accompanied with redness and swelling of the lid margins. Blepharitis gives the appearance of "dandruff" on the lid margins, near the eyelashes. The lashes are often few in numbers and become irregular.
CAUSE OF BLEPHARITIS:
Bacteria (usually Staphylococcus aureous) are found down in the eyelash follicle and secrete toxins which cause the eyelid to become inflamed. It is not contagious, in the usual sense; however, hand rubbing of the lid margins seems to increase the inflammation and swelling. It can be chronic. Long term chronic cases may result in lid deformities from years of scar tissue formation.
TYPES OF BLEPHARITIS:
Two types of Blepharitis are common;
· Seborrheic - This type is most often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction, in which an over-production of lipids creates the blockage. It can appear as mild redness and flaking or scaling around the eyelid and base of the eyelashes. The inner lining of the eyelid, the palpebral conjunctiva, may also appear rough and inflammed (a condition known as conjunctivitis). Because sebaceous gland dysfunction often accompanies this condition, dandruff of the scalp and other skin condtions involving acne may also be present. Hormones, nutrition, general physical condition and stress contribute to this form.
· Staphylococcal - This type is caused by staphylococcal bacteria usually beginning in childhood. Once the bacteria has been transmitted, it continues throughout adulthood. Common symptoms include dilated blood vessels, chalazions, loss of lashes, styes, and crusting or scaling around the eyes.
TREATMENT OF BLEPHARITIS:
The best treatment is to adopt a regimen of cleansing the lid margins. Scrubbing the lid margin with "baby shampoo" and then rinsing with hot water is best. There are commercially available lid shampoos that are available also. If this treatment does not stop or control the condition, then the individual should consult with an eye doctor. In more severe cases antibiotics are required to assist in the removal of the bacteria. Additionally, mild topically applied steroids may be required to reduce the inflammation caused from the toxins.