Published on: 29 Mar, 2021
Your eyelids and lashes have an important role: keeping your eyes safe from any unwanted intruders like dust, dirt or anything else that might be an irritant or cause an injury. The debris that accumulates within the tight network of fine hairs along the edge of your eyelids may eventually cause a problem however, leading to a condition called blepharitis.
It’s quite common for patients to come in with concerns of irritation of the eyes and/or eyelids. Symptoms include matting of the lashes in the morning, redness of the eyes, a gritty or sandy feeling, itchiness, chronic discharge and watery eyes. An eye exam often reveals evidence of bacterial overgrowth at the base of the eyelashes within the buildup of debris (“biofilm”), as well as signs of inflammation along the eyelid margins. In these cases blepharitis is the typical diagnosis.
Blepharitis can be treated, and it’s important to do so because untreated blepharitis can cause a host of problems including frequent eye infections, styes, loss of lashes or misdirected lashes, dry eyes and even vision problems. Treatment options vary, and some people are more affected by blepharitis than others and may require more aggressive treatment.
Here are the various treatment options for blepharitis:
· Daily lash scrubs – using an appropriate cleaning agent. Only use a cleaning wipe that is approved by your eye doctor. Baby shampoo on a washcloth is no longer recommended for blepharitis, due to its harsh effect on the eye’s lubricating systems.
· Tea tree oil scrubs – some types of blepharitis are due to parasite or mite infestation; this needs to be cleared with a special cleaning agent and tea tree oil can be effective for this.
· Intense Pulsed Light therapy – this is a treatment we do in-office for certain types of dry eyes. It has been shown to be effective at clearing up inflammation on the eyelids associated with blepharitis.
· Zest (Zocular) – this is a new treatment we are performing in-office. We use a special cleaning agent to remove buildup at the base of the eyelashes. Like regular hygiene visits to the dentist, this procedure deep-cleans the eyelashes very effectively and is used in combination with home treatment.
· Medicated eye drops or ointment – usually a combination antibiotic and steroid, these are used short-term to control extreme flare-ups within the eyes associated with blepharitis
· Blephex – this is another treatment that is done within our office, we use a special device with a rapidly rotating sponge soaked in a safe cleanser to exfoliate the base of the eyelashes and remove debris buildup
The right treatment for blepharitis depends on the specific type you have. Book an appointment with one of our eye doctors if you think you may have this condition and we will be sure to recommend the appropriate therapy for you.