Blepharitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the eyelids and eyelash follicles that may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, acne, bacterial infection, allergic reaction or poor hygiene. The eyes may become red, blurry or tear frequently. The eyelids may crust, flake, scale or redden, and the smooth inside lining of the lids may become rough.
Blepharitis may cause eyelashes to be lost. In more serious cases, patients may suffer from sores that form when the crusting skin is removed. Eyelids can become deformed, allowing infection to spread onto the eye itself. Blepharitis may also cause styes, chalazia and problems with the moisturizing tear film.
Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat, but it usually doesn't cause permanent damage to your sight. Niswander Eye Center recommends a number of treatment and preventative care measures for blepharitis. These involve cleansing of the eyelids, face and scalp. Warm compresses may be applied to loosen crust and debris around your eyelids. You may also scrub the base of your eyelids with a clean washcloth, cotton swab or commercial lint-free pad soaked in warm water. This may be combined with antibiotics or other medication if a bacterial infection is causing or contributing to the problem.