Blepharitis Causes & Treatment Options
Blepharitis – it’s a big word that sounds painful. This condition, an inflammation of the eyelids, can be quite painful because the issue usually occurs where the eyelashes grow. If you suspect you have it or know you have it, come visit us our highly trained doctors at Elmquist Eye Group to find out what causes blepharitis and also to understand treatment options.
What causes blepharitis?
When the tiny oil glands in the eyelid become clogged, inflammation can occur. The eyelid can become painful and therefore uncomfortable, but there is no permanent damage to your eyelids, eyes or eyesight.
Although we don’t know exactly what causes blepharitis, we definitely know it is not contagious. There are several reasons why your eyelids may become inflamed. Both the upper and lower eyelids contain small glands that secrete oil to lubricate the eyes. The oil can build up in the glands, trapping bacteria.
Bacterial infection is a common cause of blepharitis, as is a clogged or malfunctioning eyelid oil gland. Skin conditions like rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis can also be a cause. In some cases, you might have an allergic reaction to cosmetics or other eye products.
What are the symptoms?
Some blepharitis symptoms are fairly common, such as watery eyes or red eyes. However, the disease has some fairly specific symptoms as well, such as a grittiness or burning sensation in the eyes and eyelids that appear greasy.
Blepharitis is most associated with red, swollen and itchy eyelids.
Your eyelids may stick together, and you may have encrusted eyelashes upon waking in the morning. Over time, you may find that your eyelashes grow abnormally or that you lose your eyelashes.
When should I see the doctor?
If you think you have blepharitis, make sure that you keep the eyelid area clean and free of oil and makeup. If your symptoms are not improving despite regular cleaning, make an appointment with us at Elmquist.
It is particularly important to see a doctor because if you have blepharitis, you may suffer from other problems. For example, the blepharitis can cause your eyelid skin to scar or cause damage to the edges of the eyelids. You may also have eyelash growth issues.
What are some other complications?
The excess oil can build up in your tear ducts and create dry eye or even excess tearing. Either way, your eye is not getting a normal lubrication.
Blepharitis can easily lead to a stye, an infection near the eyelashes. A stye is often very painful. You may also develop an infection called a chalazion. The small oil glands inside the eyelid become infected, leading to a swollen eyelid. A chalazion is different from a stye in that a chalazion typically forms inside the eyelid.
I’ve had blepharitis before – should I be concerned?
Repeated bouts of blepharitis can lead to chronic conditions like repeated episodes of pink eye (conjunctivitis) or corneal injury due to the constant irritation or dry eye.
Thankfully, Dr. Elmquist has designed Spa Scrubs, an innovative blepharitis treatment. One of our skilled Fort Myers eye care physicians can perform the treatment in our offices to help your symptoms.
First, we will express the oil glands to clean out any impurities that may be the source of infection. Then we will gently clean and “scrub” the eyelid area to keep it free of excess oil and bacteria. We will even send you home with an at-home care kit you can use yourself. Many of our spa scrub patients have reported significant improvement, and in fact, we see many of them on an annual basis to regularly perform the procedure.
If you think you have blepharitis, don’t suffer any longer. Call us today to make an appointment at Elmquist Eye Group and learn more about what causes it and what can be done to relieve your symptoms.