If you’ve ever suffered from pink eye or any other eye infection or inflammation, you know the toll it can take on your daily life. For sufferers of a common eye condition called blepharitis, that inconvenience, discomfort and pain can strike at any moment. As an optometrist in Oshkosh, we frequently see patients who had no idea what blepharitis was until they experienced it for the first time.
Because education is key to helping prevent and treat blepharitis, we’ve put together this short guide to understanding and dealing with the condition. We hope it proves effective for patients in the Oshkosh community and beyond.
What is blepharitis?
To put it simply, blepharitis is an inflammation of one or both eyelids. This inflammation can lead to redness, an unusually heavy buildup of crust on the eyelid margins and trouble opening one’s eyes completely.
Blepharitis can also lead to other complications. These include stye, or a sensitive red bump on the outside of one’s eyelid; either an unusually high amount of tears or unusually dry eyes; and chalazion, which is similar to a stye but often more permanent.
Blepharitis can be caused by a few different things. Anterior blepharitis, or blepharitis which infects the outside of the eyelid, is usually caused either by excessive dandruff or staph bacteria. On the other hand, posterior blepharitis, which affects the inside of the eyelid, usually stems from blocked oil glands, acne or dandruff.
Whatever type of blepharitis one has or where it came from, it can be a painful and embarrassing nuisance for patients to deal with. Fortunately, there are several different ways to prevent and treat blepharitis.
How can I prevent and treat blepharitis?
Because blepharitis is most commonly caused by dandruff, bacteria and acne, there are some fairly easy ways to prevent it. Washing one’s face thoroughly at least once a day will help eliminate bacteria, as will taking care to remove all eye makeup before sleeping and avoiding excessive use of eyeliner. Using a medicated dandruff shampoo will help to eliminate that threat, and looking into stronger acne treatments is also an option.
If one fails to prevent blepharitis and does develop it, there are also options for simple home care and medicinal treatments they can take advantage of. A warm compress will remove the eye crust, soothe the inflammation, and keep the area clean. If a warm compress alone is not enough to sufficiently treat the inflammation, the patient may want to consider asking their Oshkosh optometrist for a prescription for a topical steroid cream, which should cause the flare-up to heal quickly.
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely cure blepharitis. But using proper hygiene will keep the flare-ups few and far between, and careful in-home and prescribed treatment can make flare-ups as short and harmless as possible.
If you suspect that you or a loved one might be suffering from blepharitis, please don’t hesitate to visit Dr. Jill’s Optical Shoppe, your local Oshkosh optometrist, for further information and treatment options.