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Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelids. Some doctors call it granulated eyelids. Almost everyone gets blepharitis at some time in his or her life. Some people get it repeatedly. Fortunately, blepharitis is relatively easy to treat.
Types of blepharitis:
Staphylococcus blepharitis is caused by a germ called Staphylococci, commonly known as "staph." It often begins in childhood and continues throughout adulthood. This form of the condition results in collar scales on lashes, crusting, and chronic redness at the lid margin. Dilated blood vessels, loss of lashes, sties, and chalazia (nodules on the eyelids) also occur.
Seborrhea blepharitis is the most common and least severe form of this condition. It is not an infection but is caused by improper function of the oil glands, which causes greasy, waxy scales to accumulate along the eyelid margins. Seborrhea may be a part of an overall skin disorder that affects other areas. Hormones, nutrition, general physical condition and stress are factors in seborrhea.
Ulcerative blepharitis is a less common but more severe condition that may be characterized by matted, hard crusts around the eyelashes, which, when removed, leave small sores that may bleed or ooze. There may also be a loss of eyelashes, distortion of the front edges of the eyelids and chronic tearing.
In severe cases, the cornea, the transparent covering of the front of the eyeball, may also become inflamed.
Symptoms of blepharitis:
Causes of blepharitis:
In addition to eliminating redness and soreness, treatment can prevent potential infection and scarring of the cornea. You doctor will perform a complete eye examination to determine the most effective treatment.
After soaking, scrub each eyelid gently for one minute using a clean washcloth wrapped around your index finger and moistened with warm tap water. Cotton-tipped applicators, like Q-tips, are also useful to remove accumulated material from the eyelashes.
To remove excessive amounts of material from your eyelids, use a few drops of a non-irritating shampoo, such as baby shampoo, mixed in lukewarm water. Being careful to avoid getting shampoo in your eye, scrub back and forth along the eyelashes of all eyelids, and then rinse with plain tap water. Once the redness and soreness are under control, this cleaning may be decreased from daily to twice weekly. However, if the symptoms return, return to daily cleansing immediately.
For certain types of blepharitis, medications taken by mouth are helpful. Most of these medications are antibiotics that also improve or alter the oil composition of the eyelid oil glands. When taken properly, they are safe. However, side effects may occur in some individuals, including skin rash, slight nausea and increased sensitivity to sun.
Although medications may help control the symptoms of blepharitis, they alone are not sufficient; keeping the eyelids clean is essential.
If you think you may have blepharitis, your eye doctor can determine the cause and recommend the right combination of treatment specifically for you.
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