Blepharitis is a condition in which the eyelids are swollen, red, and inflamed. It occurs when small glands at the margin of the eyelid do not work properly. Under normal circumstances, these glands secrete oil onto the surface of the eye to lubricate the eyelids and prevent the evaporation of tears. In patients with blepharitis, they become plugged. This allows their secretions to stagnate and break down into fatty acids, which irritate the surface of the eye. These irritated eyes secrete more mucous and proteins that build up on the margins of the eyelids and create a crust that is most noticeable in the morning. If untreated, the condition may create painful swelling of the lid margin, discomfort of the ocular surface, and poor vision.
Please click below for a brief but detailed animation.
At Woolfson Eye Institute (WEI), our strategy for managing blepharitis is to interrupt the “vicious cycle” in as many ways as we can, using some or all of the methods of treatments outlined above.
The dosage of oral and topical drugs, with potential complications, can be reduced once a positive response is obtained to the treatments. Long-term treatment plans will be determined by response to medications and the appearance of the eyes on follow up examinations.
It is important to remember that blepharitis is a chronic disease. Most patients with blepharitis have had it for months or years before they even seek care. It is important to realize that several weeks or even months of treatment may be required before any improvement occurs. Medications should not be stopped just because they “don’t seem to be doing any good.”