Blepharitis is a relatively common eye infection in which the eyelids become swollen, red and itchy.
Blepharitis isn’t contagious, but it can affect people of any age and be found in one or both eyes. While it’s unlikely to lead to any serious health or sight problems, blepharitis can be uncomfortable and unsightly. Our doctors will be able to help you treat the problem and take steps to reduce the chances of it happening again.
What Causes Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is most often caused by one of two reasons.
It sometimes occurs because of a bacterial infection. The staphylococcus bacteria is present in everyone’s system and usually doesn’t cause any problems. However, some people can occasionally have a reaction to it, leading to problems such as blepharitis.
It can also be caused by a problem with the Meibomian gland. This is found at the edge of your eyelids and produces an oily substance that helps to keep your eyes moist. If too much of this is produced, it can cause a form of dermatitis.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
Your eyelids will become swollen, red, dry and sore, while you might find they also stick together when you close them. Your eyelashes may also be affected - for example, they may become crusty or start to fall out.
If you wear contact lenses, blepharitis can make putting them in, taking them out and wearing them very uncomfortable.
While one-off outbreaks of blepharitis can be treated, many people find that the problem can reoccur at a later date.
Good hygiene can help clear up your blepharitis and make it less likely to come back. Putting a warm flannel over your eye, massaging your eyelids with a cotton bud or using an eyelid cleaning solution can often help treat blepharitis and prevent the condition from cropping up again.
If this doesn't work, our GPs will usually prescribe medication to lubricate and moisturise the eye. This is in the form of eye drops or gel.
Prescriptions can be written during your consultation and sent to your chosen pharmacy for you to pick up your medicine at a time that’s convenient for you.
Updated: December 23, 2020