Eyelid inflammation; Meibomian gland dysfunction
Blepharitis is swelling or inflammation of the eyelids. Dandruff-like debris builds up at the base of the eyelashes as well.
In people with blepharitis, too much oil is produced by the glands near the eyelid. The exact reason for this problem is not known. A breakdown of these oils may lead to blepharitis.
Blepharitis is more likely to be seen in people with:
You may feel like you have sand or dust in your eye when you blink. Sometimes, the eyelashes may fall out. The eyelids may become scarred if the condition continues long-term.
The health care provider can most often make the diagnosis by looking at the eyelids during an eye exam.
Cleaning the edges of the eyelid every day will help remove excess bacteria and oil. Your health care provider might recommend using baby shampoo or special cleansers. Using an antibiotic ointment in the eyelid or taking antibiotic pills may help treat the problem. It may also help to take fish oil supplements.
If you have blepharitis:
The outcome is most often good with treatment. You may need to keep the eyelid clean to prevent the problem from coming back. Continuing treatment will ease redness and help make your eyes more comfortable
Call with your health care provider if symptoms get worse or do not improve after several days of carefully cleaning your eyelids.
Cleaning the eyelids carefully will help reduce the chances of getting blepharitis. Treat skin conditions that may add to the problem.
Gadaria-Rathod N, Fernandez KB, Asbell PA. Blepharitis. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 4.4.
Hussein N, Schwab IR. Blepharitis and Inflammation of the eyelids. In: Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane's Ophthalmology. 2013 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:vol 4, chap 22.
Yanoff M, Cameron D. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 431.
Last reviewed on: 9/2/2014
Reviewed by: Franklin W. Lusby, MD, ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.