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What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis causes eyelids to become red, swollen and inflamed. The condition is not usually serious, but it can be very uncomfortable. It tends to be a long-term condition, which means you’re likely to need ongoing treatment.

Types of Blepharitis

There are two main types of blepharitis – anterior and posterior.

Anterior Blepharitis

When the front (anterior) part of the eyelids becomes sore, this can be caused by an infection, allergy or a general sensitivity to bacteria present on the eyelids. It can also be associated with some scalp conditions, such as very dry or oily skin and dandruff.

Anterior Blepharitis

Also known as meibomian gland dysfunction. This is when the glands that make the oily part of your tears become blocked. Both types of blepharitis can cause dry eye or make it worse if you already have it. Many people will have a combination of blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye.


Risk Factors

Blepharitis is more common in people over the age of 50, but anyone can develop it. This is often because the glands that make the normal tears, particularly the oily part of the tears, tend to become less effective as you get older.



Blepharitis can cause crusting and around the roots of eyelashes. Your eyelids may stick together in the morning when you wake up.Your eyelid edges may become red and your eyes will feel gritty, burning, sore or itchy. If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment with your optometrist.



There is a range of products designed especially for treating blepharitis, such as sterile pads, individual moist wipes and cleaning solutions. Your optometrist will be able to advise you on where you can buy these products. Antibiotic ointment may be recommended in severe cases.
As part of the treatment, you need to remove all the crusting and debris from the edge of your eyelids and from between your eyelashes. You should use your cleaning product. If this is not available, you should use warm water and cotton balls or make-up removal pads. Treatment of blepharitis is a long-term procedure. You may not see any improvement for several weeks. Continue the treatment twice a day for at least one month, then less often as it starts to get better. You will probably need to continue to clean your lids at least twice a week to help prevent the blepharitis from returning.


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