Blepharitis is an eye condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids, and it usually affects both the eyes. Blepharitis can be acute or chronic, of which chronic is the most common form. The condition affects people of all age groups, but it is more common in people who are above 50 .
What Causes Blepharitis? 
The exact cause of blepharitis isn't known. The causes vary depending on whether the condition is acute or chronic.
• Acute blepharitis - It is an inflammation that affects the eyelids where the eyelashes are present. It is caused by the staphylococcus bacteria and seborrheic blepharitis (a type of seborrheic dermatitis which is similar to dandruff on the scalp).
• Posterior blepharitis - It is an inflammation that affects the inner part of the eyelids and is caused due to the dysfunction of the oil glands in the eyelids. As a result, the glands become inflamed and produce excessive amounts of oil that become clogged in your eyelids. Posterior blepharitis can also occur due to acne rosacea, allergic conjunctivitis and eczema.
Symptoms Of Blepharitis
• Itching, burning and crusting of the eyelids
• Excessive tearing
• Blurred vision
• Light sensitivity
• Feeling like something is inside the eye
• Dry eyes
• Watery eyes
• Red eyes
• Greasy eyelids
The symptoms become worse in the morning and you experience crusting of the eyelids as you wake up .
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Complications Of Blepharitis
• Excess tearing of the eyes
• Eyelid scarring
• Chronic conjunctivitis
• Chalazion ( a small lump that develops in the eyelid)
• Keratitis and corneal ulcers can lead to loss of vision .
When To See A Doctor
If you have the above-mentioned symptoms that are not going away, you should consult a doctor immediately.
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Diagnosis Of Blepharitis
The doctor will examine your eyelids and ask about your symptoms, medical history and if you are taking any medications. After which the doctor conducts diagnostic tests such as eye examination with the help of a special magnifying tool, swab test and slit lamp eye examination test .
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Treatment Of Blepharitis
• Eyelid hygiene - It is considered the foremost effective treatment for blepharitis. Eyelid hygiene treatment is done by applying a warm water compress on the eye for 5 to 10 minutes to clear the oil, debris and dilate the oil glands. After which, the eyelids should be gently washed by dipping a cotton ball soaked in diluted baby shampoo to eliminate the scales and debris. For treating posterior blepharitis, massage the eyelids gently with a cotton ball or finger in small circular patterns to dilate the oil glands. The eyelid hygiene treatment should be done two to four times daily.
• Antibiotics - Antibiotics can help treat blepharitis by bringing relief from the symptoms and killing the bacteria from the eyelids. Topical antibiotic cream like erythromycin can be applied on the eyelids for two to eight weeks for treating anterior blepharitis. For treating posterior blepharitis, antibiotics like oral tetracyclines and macrolide are used.
• Steroids - Your doctor may also prescribe topical steroids to help improve the symptoms.
These treatments are prescribed if eyelid hygiene treatment doesn't work out. Other treatment methods are thermal pulsation therapy, MiBoFlo therapy and BlephEx .
Q. Is blepharitis contagious?
A. No, blepharitis isn't contagious.
Q. What happens if blepharitis is left untreated?
A. If blepharitis is not treated, it can lead to keratopathy, corneal neovascularisation and corneal ulceration.
Q. How long does blepharitis take to clear up?
A. If blepharitis doesn't go away with eyelid hygiene management, antibiotics and steroids are used and it needs to be used as prescribed by the doctor.