An inflammation of the lash follicles at the eyelid margins due to excess growth in lash follicles of bacteria normally present on the skin.
Causes and risks
Blepharitis is usually caused by seborrheic
dermatitis, a bacterial infection, or a combination of both. Allergies, or
eyelash infestation with lice may less commonly cause blepharitis. Blepharitis
is characterized by excess oil production in the glands near the eyelid, which
creates a favorable environment for the excess growth of bacteria which are
normally present on the skin. Eyelids appear red and irritated, with scales
that cling to the base of the eyelashes. Blepharitis may be associated with
repeated styes and chalazia.
Risk factors are seborrheic dermatitis of the face or scalp, rosacea, and allergies.
Cleaning eyelids carefully will help prevent blepharitis. If a specific skin condition is present, it should be treated.
The primary treatment is careful daily cleansing of the lid margins to remove the skin oils that the bacteria feed on. Baby shampoo or special cleansers may be recommended by your health care provider. Antibiotic ointments may also be helpful in controlling bacteria on the lids.
If present, seborrheic dermatitis or rosacea
should be treated.
Lice may be eradicated by smothering them with petroleum jelly applied to the base of the lashes or may require the use of prescription medications.