Blepharitis is an eruption producing inflammation of eyelids and eyelashes. It is characterized by white flaky skin near the eyelashes. Blepharitis usually causes redness of the eyes and itching and irritation of the eyelids.
There are two types. One, anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelids near the eyelashes. The causes are seborrheic dermatitis (similar to dandruff) and occasional infection by Staphylococcus bacteria. Two, posterior blepharitis affects the back of the eyelids, the part that makes contact with the eyes. This is caused by the oil glands present in this region.
Staphlycoccal blepharitis is a type of external eye inflammation. As with dandruff, it is usually asymptomatic until the disease progresses. As it progresses, the sufferer begins to notice a foreign body sensation, matting of the lashes, and burning. Usually, the primary care physician will prescribe topical antibiotics for staphylococcal blepharitis.
This ailment can sometimes lead to a stye, which is caused by the same bacterium.
Seborrheic blepharitis, the inherited most common type of blepharitis, is usually one part of the spectrum of seborrheic dermatitis seborrhea which involves the scalp, lashes, eyebrows, nasolabial folds and ears. Treatment is best accomplished by a dermatologist.
Treatment and management
There is generally no cure for blepharitis, but it can be controlled by maintaining regular eyelid hygiene. Application of a damp warm cloth on the eyes helps unblock the Meibomian glands and this should be followed by firm massage of the eyelids with diluted baby shampoo, which acts as a mild cleaning agent. Antibiotic drops or ointments are prescribed in severe cases.
Dermatologists treat blepharitis similarly to seborrheic dermatitis by using safe topical anti-inflammatory medication like sulfacetamide or brief courses of a mild topical steroid. Although anti-fungals like ketoconazole (Nizoral) are commonly prescribed for seborrheic dermatitis, dermatologists and optometrists usually do not prescribe anti-fungals for seborrheic blepharitis.