Closeup of an Eye With Blepharitis

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a common condition that describes inflammation of the eyelashes. Debris or inflammatory material from the lashes can enter the eye and contribute to dry eye issues. Symptoms are similar to dry eye, plus matting or crusting of the lashes, especially in the morning. Blepharitis can also lead to frequent styes. Just like teeth need to be brushed, your eyelids should be cleaned as well.

Treatment includes warm compresses and/or baby shampoo scrubs. Examples of warm compresses are warm towels or a clean sock filled with rice briefly put in the microwave. Test the warm compress on your inner wrist; if it is too hot for your wrist, it is too hot for your eye. You can gently massage the lid with the compress, keep it on the eye until it cools, and repeat as needed. To create a lid scrub, place a small amount of baby shampoo in your palm and mix it with about the same amount of water. Gently scrub your lashes daily with the mixture when you’re in the shower or washing your face. Use artificial tears throughout the day as needed. If your symptoms fail to improve antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics may be used. There is no cure for blepharitis, so routine maintenance is key.