Blepharitis Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Blepharitis (commonly known as eyelid margin disease) is a common and persistent inflammation of the eyelids. This condition frequently occurs in people who have a tendency toward oily skin, dandruff or dry eyes. With blepharitis, both the upper and lower eyelids become coated with oily particles and bacteria near the base of the eyelashes. This can cause eye/eyelid irritation (itchiness and redness) and a burning sensation. Everyone has bacteria on the surface of their skin, but in some people, bacteria thrive in the skin at the base of the eyelashes. Large amounts of bacteria around the eyelashes can cause dandruff-like scales and particles to form along the lashes and eyelid margins.
Blepharitis is often a chronic condition but it can be controlled.
Wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out and place it over your closed eyelids for at least one minute. Repeat two or three times, rewetting the washcloth as it cools. This will loosen scales and debris around your eyelashes. It also helps dilute oil secretions from nearby oil glands, preventing the development of a chalazion (pronounced Kuh-LAY-zee-un) – an enlarged lump caused by clogged oil secretions in the eyelid.
Using a clean washcloth, cotton swab or commercial lint-free pad soaked in warm water, gently scrub the base of your eyelashes for about 15 seconds per eyelid.
Dr. Conlon may prescribe an antibiotic ointment. Using a clean fingertip or cotton swab, gently apply a small amount at the base of the eyelashes before bedtime.
In some cases, Dr. Conlon will prescribe a low-dose of an antibiotic, not for its anti-bacterial effect, but for its anti-inflammatory effect. Oral tetracyclines (doxycycline or minocycline) for about 6 months can be used in recalcitrant Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) cases. Tetracycline antibiotics affect the meibomian gland secretions, inhibit bacterial lipases as well as reduce the eyelid bacterial load.
Artificial tears or steroid eyedrops may also be prescribed temporarily to relieve dry eye or inflammation.
How to perform lid scrubs
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Soak a clean washcloth in warm water, and apply to eyelids for 1- 2 minutes.
- Apply a small amount of baby shampoo to the washcloth.
- Close one eye and gently rub the base of your eyelashes with the warm washcloth, being careful to rub the entire area. Do this for one minute. (A Q-tip may be used in place of the washcloth, a gentler option if you have marked inflammation.)
- Carefully rinse your entire eyelid with clean, cool water.
- Repeat with your other eye, using a clean washcloth.
- Dr. Conlon may recommend performing an eyelid scrub twice each day to help alleviate your symptoms.
- If you suffer from blepharitis, eyelid scrubs should become part of your daily eyelid hygiene routine.
- Always use a clean washcloth.
- An over-the-counter cleansing agent to use in place of baby shampoo, there are many commercial cleansing agents available.