Blepharitis

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is the medical term for inflamed eyelids. You may notice tired, or gritty eyes, which may be uncomfortable in sunlight or a smoky atmosphere. They may be slightly red, and feel as though there is something in them.

The eyelids have tiny glands in them, especially the lower lids. These glands make substances that mix with tears, and help the tears to spread across the eye.

As you get older, and particularly if you have dry skin, these glands can block. Without the substance that makes the tears spread, the tears break up, and dry patches develop. These patches make the eyes feel sore or gritty.

Aims of blepharitis treatment

Treatment is needed:

  • to unblock the glands in the eyelid, which may be infected and inflamed, like acne on the face or a tiny boil.
  • to replace tears if the eyes are dry (dry eyes and blepharitis may occur together: see below). The treatment should make your eyes more comfortable, but there is no magic cure. Even with treatment.your eyes may remain a little sore, but no harm will come to them and there is nothing to worry about. This is not a serious condition, and there is seldom any damage to your eyes.

Lid Cleaning

  • lubricants such as 'Gel Tears' or 'Viscotears'
  • antibiotic ointment if cleaning not helpful
  • antibiotic tablets if severe, persistent, or very uncomfortable

Eye Lid Hygiene

Eyelids and eyelashes protect our eyes which can be easily damaged. It is important that eyelids and eyelashes are kept clean and healthy so we see clearly and avoid pain or discomfort. The following are some helpful guidelines on effective eye lid hygiene.

1. Applying Heat

  • It is preferable to boil the water first to sterilise it, and allow it to cool.
  • Heat two small wooden spoon in a small bowl of hot water for a few minutes.( the wood retains the heat for a longer period)
  • Apply heat to both eyes by placing the back of the wooden spoons to both eyes for 5minutes or as long as can be tolerated.

2. Lid cleaning

  • Using Johnson’s baby shampoo to clean the eyes, add one capful of JBS to the small bowl and froth up.
  • Soak some cotton wool balls in the solution. Rubbing the cotton wool over the closed eyelids for 2-3 minutes, and repeat discarding the used cotton balls each time.
  • Bathe twice daily, gradually reducing as the eyes become more comfortable.

Note: It may be two weeks before you have any noted improvement, it is important to be consistent with your cleaning routine.

3. The Use of Lubricants

  • Lubricants may be helpful to both assist the spread of your own tears and lubricate the eye, and replace tears if you suffer from 'dry eyes’.
  • Lubricant can come in either gel or drop form. Artelac is the preferred lubricant of choice. Use as required these products are not harmful to the eye.
  • To apply the lubricant to the eyes, Firstly wash your hands. Then by gently pulling the lower eye lid from the eyeball, insert the lubricant onto the inside of the lid, being careful not to touch the tube/bottle tip on the eye.

To Summarise....

Apply Heat,
Bathe,
Lubricate