Your eyelid is swollen, red, itchy and it’s causing considerable discomfort. There are several conditions that can lead to these symptoms and we want to focus on one, in particular, here — blepharitis.
The team of ophthalmology experts here at Suburban Eye Associates has extensive experience with eye disorders of all kinds and blepharitis certainly ranks among the many we know how to quickly diagnose and treat.
To help you narrow down the potential culprits behind the symptoms in your eyelid, let’s take a closer look at blepharitis.
What is blepharitis?
The term blepharitis means eyelid inflammation and there are two types of the condition, including:
- Anterior blepharitis, which affects the front edge of your eyelid
- Posterior blepharitis, which affects the interior portion (the part that comes in contact with your eye)
In most cases, blepharitis won’t have an effect on your vision, but if the infection goes unchecked or you rub the area, it can spread and affect your cornea.
Causes of blepharitis
If the problem occurs on the outer edge of your eyelid, there are several potential causes, including:
- Mites or lice
If the infection develops posteriorly, it’s likely that the tiny oil glands in your eyelash follicles (your meibomian glands) have become clogged or irritated. This sets the stage for more bacteria to gather in the area and infection to take hold.
As well, dandruff or a condition like rosacea can also lead to posterior blepharitis.
Symptoms of blepharitis
The symptoms of an infection in your eyelid are hard to ignore and include:
- Swelling and inflammation
- Flakey skin
- Crusting at the base of your eyelashes
- Eyelashes that point in different directions
- A burning sensation in your eyes
- Red and/or watery eyes
- Oily eyelids
These symptoms range in severity from a minor nuisance to a more significant comfort and cosmetic issue.
Diagnosing and treating blepharitis
Your eyes are extremely delicate so it’s important that you have us take a look at the first signs of trouble. Through a visual examination, we can usually determine whether the problem stems from blepharitis, at which point we can recommend a treatment plan.
Early intervention is important with a condition like blepharitis as we can prevent scarring, further infection, and eyelash loss. Not to mention, you can get much-needed relief from the discomfort.
If you do have an infection, we may recommend antibiotics, which come in both oral or topical forms. We can also provide you with ointments and eyedrops that can help ease some of the more uncomfortable symptoms that accompany blepharitis.
You can do your part at home with warm compresses to your eyelids and frequent washing to keep the area free from debris and bacteria.
If you suspect that you may have blepharitis, we urge you to contact one of our three locations in Huntingdon Valley, Jenkintown, or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to set up an appointment.