Blepharitis Treatment in London
What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis a condition where the eyelid margins become red swollen and inflamed. It is not usually a serious condition but can be uncomfortable and lead to other conditions such as eyelid cysts, conjunctivitis and dry eye if left without treatment.
What is the main cause?
In a large number of cases, the condition develops because there is bacteria at the eyelid margin and your body develops an allergic reaction to it. Everyone has bacteria on their skin and eyelids but some people are more sensitive or have a higher amount around the area of the lashes.
People who have had refractive surgery or use contact lenses can get dry eye and become more sensitive to the symptoms.
Blepharitis is categorised into anterior and posterior. Both have different causes although may present with similar symptoms
Anterior blepharitis affects the base of the eyelashes on the outer aspect of the lid. It develops due to bacteria on the skin or due to a dandruff from the lashes and the brows. It can be associated with a skin condition known as seborrhoeic dermatitis. When it is associated with seborrheic dermatitis of the skin it may be called seborrheic blepharitis. Very rarely it can be due specific mites causing a demodex infestation. This is termed demodex blepharitis.
Posterior blepharitis develops when the oil glands that lie within the eyelid produce oil in an abnormal way. This is called meibomian gland dysfunction. Another term is meibomian blepharitis which implies involvment of the glands along the lid margin. It can be associated with a skin condition known as ocular rosacea and acne rosacea.
What is the fastest way to cure it?
Use a warm compress using a flannel or washcloth to the eyelid repeating the application for about 5 minutes until the lid becomes warm. You can heat your flannel by soaking it in warm water. Use the edge of the flannel to wipe along the margin of the lid as you pull it away from the eyeball. This procedure is called eyelid hygiene.
If you are unable to do this you may get some eyelid scrubs with an ophthalmic solution from your pharmacy. Some doctors advocate the use of baby shampoo to the eyelid but this can be irritating if not diluted. Use should try to avoid using a pad or cotton swab as this can become very smooth when wet as it not effective at removing any hard lumps of oil that remain on the lid margin.
Artificial tears tend to help with the symptoms of blepharitis but do not treat the condition. They help to improve the tear film which can become abnormal with the condition.
Antibiotic ointment can be used when there is evidence of a bacterial infection known as staphylococcal blepharitis.
Topical antibiotics may be given if there is evidence of a conjunctivitis infection on the eye associated with your blepharitis.
In more severe cases of chronic blepharitis, systemic antibiotics can be used for a period of two months. These are oral antibiotics taken daily.
Topical corticosteroids given as eye drops tend to give significant improvement to the symptoms but are only prescribed if there is significant eyelid inflammation or new blood vessels on the corneal surface of the eye known as corneal neovascularization.
Scalp dandruff should be treated and may also help with the symptoms around your eyes.
Other treatments such as a light based therapy may be of benefit in some cases.
How long does blepharitis take to go away?
This is a chronic condition which means that it is usually a long term issue. There eyelid hygiene is an effective treatment that can be used to keep the symptoms at bay by they require long use. You should plan it into your daily routine. Other treatments can be used should the lid hygeine be insuficient or when the condition becomes more severe. Most patients go through good and bad periods.
Why does it keep coming back?
Blepharitis is a long term condition it can keep coming back. It is best to do regular lid hygeine to prevent it coming back and use other treatments whien it becomes more severe.
What happens if blepharitis is left untreated?
If it is left untreated you may suffer from long term symptoms. It can cause a recurrent conjunctivitis infection to the eye. This is known as blepharoconjunctivitis. In more severe cases it can cause an ulcer to the eye know as marginal keratitis which requires treatment with topical corticosteroid eye drops. It rarely causes vision loss but you should see your eye doctor or ophthalmologist to ensure that it is treated before it becomes more serious.
Does vaseline help?
If you have eyelid dermatitis or sensitive skin as well as blepharitis, Vaseline can be a safe and effective way to moisturise the skin in this area. It is recommended to use it at bedtime so that the Vaseline can absorb during the night and not be visible on your skin during the day.