Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by an overgrowth of normal bacteria living along the lid and the base of the eyelashes. Blepharitis can occur at any age, but as we age, we make fewer natural antibodies in our tears increasing the likelihood of getting blepharitis.

This overgrowth of bacteria produces a biofilm that traps scurf and debris along the eyelashes and harbors bacterial exotoxins along the lid margin. These exotoxins penetrate the eyelid tissue causing low-grade inflammation which adversely affects the tear glands, turning down tear production. Fewer tears containing fewer antibodies allow even more bacteria to accumulate and a vicious cycle is established, leading to chronic irritation and dry eye.

Since the eyelids are difficult to clean, this overgrowth of bacteria, biofilm, scurf and debris can accumulate over many years, and the exotoxin-induced inflammation can cause significant damage to the eyelid and tear glands.

Blepharitis has two basic forms:

 

  • Anterior blepharitis, affecting the outside front of the eyelid where eyelashes are attached.
  • Posterior blepharitis, linked to dysfunction of meibomian glands within the eyelids that secrete oils to help lubricate the eye.

It’s common to have a mixture of both anterior and posterior forms of blepharitis at the same time, but in different degrees of severity.

If you believe you may be suffering from blepharitis, there are treatment options available. A painless, in-office procedure called BlephEx is available at Center For Sight for the treatment of blepharitis. 

Contact us to learn more about your treatment options for blepharitis.

The FAQ's of Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the eyelids caused by an overgrowth of normal bacteria living along the lid and the base of the eyelashes. Blepharitis can occur at any age, but as we age, we make fewer natural antibodies in our tears increasing the likelihood of getting blepharitis.

Blepharitis has two basic forms:

  • Anterior blepharitis, affecting the outside front of the eyelid where eyelashes are attached.
  • Posterior blepharitis, linked to dysfunction of meibomian glands within the eyelids that secrete oils to help lubricate the eye.

Most of the time, blepharitis happens because you have too much bacteria on your eyelids at the base of your eyelashes. Having bacteria on your skin is normal, but too much bacteria can cause problems. You can also get blepharitis if the oil glands in your eyelids get clogged or irritated.

Blepharitis can lead to other eye problems, including:

  • Stye. A stye is a red, painful bump on the eyelid caused by a blocked oil gland.
  • Chalazion. A chalazion is a hard, painless lump on the eyelid caused by a blocked oil gland. Often, this happens when you have a stye that doesn’t go away. It can make your eyelid swell and turn red. A chalazion will often go away on its own.
  • Dry eye. Oil and flakes can build up in your tear film (a thin layer of tears across the surface of your eye). This can make your eyes feel dry. Or your eyes may feel watery or teary because your tears aren’t working correctly. 
  • Damage to the cornea. In severe cases, blepharitis can hurt your cornea (the clear outer layer at the front of your eye). This can happen because of swelling or irritation in your eyelids or eye lashes that grow in the wrong direction.

Chronic (long-term) red eye. Blepharitis can make the white part of your eye look red all the time.