What is it?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids and is a very common eye condition.  There are a few different types depending on the location and cause of the problem.

What causes it?

The inflammation is usually caused by mild infections in the eyelids.  Bacteria naturally exist on the eyelids, but only when they get into the glands of the eyelids do they cause a problem.  Styes are infections of the glands near the eyelashes, but "stye" is often used interchangeably with the more general term "blepharitis".

How does it affect my eyes?

Although sometimes causing no symptoms at all, blepharitis can result in irritation such as burning, stinging, itching, or watering of the eyes.  Physically, blepharitis can be noted by redness, swelling, flaking and notching of the eyelids.  Occasional blur is common as the optics of the eye are affected by poorer quality and too few or too many tears that result from the inflammation.  If the eyelids become infected and very swollen, this can be painful as well as distort the shape of the eye and cause the vision to be constantly blurred.

What can be done about it?

Which type of blepharitis affects you have will determine the best treatment for you.  In mild cases, lid scrubs will often be sufficient.  If the oil glands of the eyelids are affected, warm compresses are required.  Antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications can be used but are often ineffective for blepharitis treatment.

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