Blepharitis

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Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelash follicles that is caused by bacteria. An overgrowth of bacteria of the skin can result from too much oil production by the glands near the eyelids. Blepharitis can be the cause of reoccurring styes.

Symptoms of Blepharitis

  • Crusty eyes that feel like they have dust in them
  • Red eyes
  • Swollen eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Loss of eye lashes

Cleaning your eyelids carefully can help prevent blepharitis.

Other Conditions Related to Blepharitis

Chalazion
A chalazion is a lump that appears in the eyelid as a result of inflammation in an oil-producing sweat gland inside the skin. When this gland becomes blocked, it can rupture, which often leads to inflammation. A chalazion usually only involves the upper eyelid and may cause swelling, occasional pain and redness. It can cause the eyelid to swell and can sometimes grow as large as an eighth of an inch.

Use warm compresses 10-15 minutes, 2-4 times a day to help reduce swelling. If after 3-4 days the swelling hasn’t subsided, contact your ophthalmologist. You should contact your ophthalmologist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Drainage
  • Extensive swelling and/or redness
  • If both eyes and/or eyelids are swollen

Sty
A sty is tender, red bump on the eyelid caused by an acute infection or inflammation of the oil glands in the eyelid. If the gland is blocked, the oil produced by the gland will become congested and cause the oil to protrude through the wall of the gland forming a lump. A sty can grow on the upper and/or lower eyelid and cause tenderness and burning.

Most sties will go away on their own within a week. You can apply warm compresses 4-6 times a day, 15 minutes at a time to help the drainage. It is important to stop using eye makeup and lotions while the sty is present. Also, do not wear contact lenses because the sty could cause an infection that could spread to your cornea. You should seek treatment from your ophthalmologist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Eyelid is swollen shut
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Swelling that lasts longer than three weeks
  • Eyelashes fall out
  • Sties on the bottom eyelid close to the nose
  • Fever
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sty is bleeding

To learn more about blepharitis, please visit the National Eye Institute website.

If you have any questions about blepharitis, please contact the Howerton Eye Clinic in Austin, Texas to schedule a consultation.