Blepharitis is an inflammation or infection of the eyelids at the base of the eyelashes. It is a common condition that causess a dandruff-like scaling of the skin on the lid margins which results in soreness, redness, and crustiness. In its most severe stages, it can cause the lashes to fall out.

  • Blepharitis usually occurs when the glands leading to the hair follicle at the base of the eyelash secrete too much oil, or become clogged and infected with bacteria.

  • Blepharitis is not contagious but can be chronic, occurring in conjunction with excessively oily facial skin.

    • Can appear as if one has “pink eye”

    • Can cause dry eye

    • Can cause tearing

    • Can cause a foreign body sensation

    • Can cause intermittently blurred vision

    • Can cause a STYE, which is essentially a painful pimple on the eyelid caused by a blocked oil gland.

A closer look at Blepharitis

  • Blepharitis affects both the upper and lower eyelids. The inflammation may be mild and simply consist of redness and scaling of the lid margin or it may be more severe, leading to lash destruction and deformity of the lid.

  • Can be caused by bacteria

  • Can be caused by the Demodex mite (type of lice)

  • Can be caused by excess oil production

  • Often associated with rosacea

  • Blepharitis can occur in individuals of all ages, particularly those with abnormally oily skin on the scalp, face, and eyebrows.


Blepharitis with crusty debris around the base of the eyelashes

Treatment for Blepharitis

  • Daily warm compresses on the eyelids for 15-20 min / day to help loosen the debris collected around the eyelashes.

  • Depending on the type or cause of your blepharitis, the eyelids should should be rubbed with antibacterial pads after applying the warm compress.

  • If the cause is the Demodex mite, then a product containing tea tree oil should be applied daily

  • Rubbed with antibacterial pads;

  • Should have some form of tea tree oil applied (If the cause is the demodex mite)

  • One should try to gently remove any crusting and dry flakes each day with a warm, moist washcloth.

  • Often patients will require other types of treatment, including antibiotics or steroid eye drops/ointment, or a regimen of doxycycline and/or Omega-3 therapy

Blepharitis can be the cause of styes

Sometimes styes can be treated just with applying 15 minute warm comresses twice a day for a week. However, if the stye shows no improvement, then antibiotic eyedrops and / or oral antibiotics need to be prescribed.

It's important to get prompt treatment. The inflammatory material inside the stye can harden, making resolution motre difficult. If the stye persisted for an extended time, it may have to be excised from the lid.

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