Blepharitis is chronic redness and irritation of the eyelids.
Blepharitis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with a few simple, daily hygienic measures, such as the following:
- At least twice a day, place a warm, wet washcloth over your closed eyelids for a minute. Rewet it as it cools, two or three times. This will soften and loosen scales and debris. More important, it helps liquefy the oily secretions from the eyelids’ oil glands, which helps prevent the development of a chalazion, an inflamed lump in an eyelid oil gland.
- With your finger covered with a thin, wet washcloth, cotton swab, or commercial lint-free pad, gently scrub the base of the lashes for about 15 seconds per lid.
When medications are necessary, they may include:
- artificial tears (over-the-counter eyedrops) to relieve symptoms of dry eye;
- antibiotics (oral or topical) to decrease bacteria on the eyelids; and
- steroids (short-term), to decrease inflammation.
Medications alone are not sufficient to control blepharitis; the application of warmth and detailed cleansing of the lashes daily is the key.