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Blepharitis refers to eyelid inflammation. It makes your eyes and eyelids swollen and red. Your eyelashes also become crusty.2
Though common, blepharitis can be difficult to treat and is often recurring. This is why it’s sometimes called chronic blepharitis.
Blepharitis isn’t contagious. It’s rarely dangerous and doesn’t seriously harm the eyes or vision. Nonetheless, it can look and feel uncomfortable.
There are two main types of eyelid inflammation:3
Both types of eyelid inflammation are common. The symptoms may also be the same. However, they’re easily treatable.
Eyelid inflammation can occur for many reasons.
You may be dealing with blepharitis if you have any of the following issues:4
Blepharitis symptoms vary from person to person, depending on the cause.
Generally, they include:2
You may have many or very few of these symptoms. But they should get better within a few weeks with treatment.
Most cases of blepharitis aren’t serious. In rare cases, it continues to get worse—especially if left untreated.
See an eye doctor if your blepharitis is worsening or isn’t resolving with treatment.2
Both eye doctors and general doctors can diagnose blepharitis and determine the proper treatment.
Since most symptoms are visible, a standard eye exam is all that is needed to diagnose the condition.
A blepharitis diagnosis is rarely a cause for concern. More often than not, it’s easily treatable.
Some complications that can develop with blepharitis include:
Treatment for blepharitis varies.
There are several options, depending on the severity of your symptoms and any associated complications you may be experiencing.
Common treatments for blepharitis include:1
If you have seborrheic dermatitis, daily cleansing with a gentle soap or shampoo (like baby shampoo) can help soothe the scalp.6 These products reduce oiliness and dead skin buildup.9
Meanwhile, if you have pink eye (conjunctivitis), an eye doctor can prescribe you eye drops. Washing your hands and treating any infections that caused conjunctivitis in the first place will help treat both pink eye and blepharitis.8
Regardless of the underlying condition or coexisting complications, treatment is necessary to resolve blepharitis.
Blepharitis is very common and not typically a major health concern. In fact, ophthalmologists and optometrists report that 37 to 47 percent of their patients have blepharitis.7
If your blepharitis doesn’t heal within a few weeks, talk to your doctor.
To help prevent and manage blepharitis, do your best to keep your eyes, skin, and hair clean.1 Blepharitis worsens with poor hygiene, so keeping clean is the best thing you can do.
Also, do your best to keep your fingers (and germs) out of your eyes. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your face.1
Another way to prevent and manage blepharitis is to reduce dandruff. Using dandruff shampoos and moisturizing conditioners can help keep dry skin out of your eyes.1
If another issue like pink eye or a stye is causing blepharitis, treat that condition first to prevent it from recurring.
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