What Is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids which causes sore and red eyelids. It will also cause crusty eyelashes.
Eyelid inflammation is actually more common than people imagine. American ophthalmologist and optometrists recently completed a survey and the results were very interesting. They stated that 37% and 47% of their patients respectively have had symptoms of blepharitis at some point.
This survey also revealed that younger people more often reported the symptoms of blepharitis when compared with other people. This is a contradiction to the conventional wisdom when it comes to eyelid inflammation. Fortunately, blepharitis can be treated before any serious damage is done to the eyelids or the eyes. However, this treatment will need to be prescribed by a trained eye care professional.
The Causes Of Blepharitis
There are several potential causes of blepharitis which you need to be aware of. The most common will be bacterial eyelid infections, dry eyes, fungal eyelid infections, and meibomian gland dysfunction. There are also parasites which can cause this problem such as Demodex eyelash mites.
Dry eyes and blepharitis will often occur at the same time. This has led to some confusion regarding whether blepharitis is caused by dry eye or if blepharitis causes dry eye. The two issues occur regularly together that some researchers believe that they are both part of a single chronic eye problem known as dry eye blepharitis syndrome or DEBS.
The supporters of this theory believe that dry eye is merely the late manifestation of blepharitis. They also believe that treating blepharitis will help to prevent, eliminate or reduce the dry eye symptoms which are faced.
Blepharitis is usually associated with an overgrowth of the bacteria which reside along the margin of the eyelids. This bacteria is also found at the base of the eyelashes. Over time, the bacteria will increase and this causes a biofilm. The biofilm will turn into a toxic environment and draw parasitic eyelash mites as they feed on this. The overgrowth of the mites will lead to a worsening of the eyelid inflammation which causes the cycle to start again.
The bacteria which create the biofilm will also create a substance which is known as exotoxin. This will cause an inflammation of the oil-secreting glands in the eyelid known as the meibomian glands. This will cause meibomian gland dysfunction which will worsen and cause any dry eye discomfort being felt.
There are certain skin conditions which blepharitis has also been associated with. These skin conditions include eczema, dandruff, ocular rosacea, and psoriasis. Pink eye will also generally occur at the same time as blepharitis.
The Symptoms Of Blepharitis
There are a number of symptoms of blepharitis that you need to know about. The most common include burning or stinging eyes, itchy eyelids, grittiness or the sensation of a foreign body on the eye. Other symptoms include irritated and watery eyes as well as crusty debris at the base of the eyelids.
It is important to note that the severity of the blepharitis will impact the symptoms that you face. Some of the symptoms may also be intermittent while others are constant. A loss of eyelashes has also been found to be a rarer symptom of this condition.
Blepharitis is also known to cause discomfort when wearing contact lenses. This has actually led to many people giving up on wearing their contact lenses.
To learn more about Blepharitis, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Bassiri at Fusion Eye Care.