Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids.

It can cause irritation of the eyelids, crusting around the eyelashes, and may make your eyes feel irritated or itchy.

There are two main types of blepharitis:

Anterior blepharitis – where the inflammation affects the skin around the base of your eyelashes.
Posterior blepharitis (also called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD) – where the inflammation affects your Meibomian glands, found along the eyelid margins behind the base of the eyelashes.

Mixed blepharitis is a combination of both anterior and posterior blepharitis. Sometimes Blepharitis is caused by microscopic mites which live on your skin and eyelids (Demodex).

Anterior blepharitis is most commonly caused by a reaction to bacteria that live harmlessly on the skin of many people, which can cause the eyelids to become inflamed.

Posterior blepharitis is caused by a problem with the Meibomian glands, where the glands get blocked by either debris or inflammation.

There is no cure for blepharitis, but in most people it can be managed with a daily eyelid-cleaning routine:

  • 1. Warm compresses: These work by warming the material that blocks the glands and loosening the crusts on the eyelid, making them easier to remove.
  • 2. Gently massaging your eyelids: this pushes any blocked material out of the glands.
  • 3. Cleaning your eyelids: this wipes away any excess oil and remove any crusts, bacteria or debris that have built up.

There are various products available for each step of this routine, and your Optometrist will recommend those that are most suitable for your eyes. If your Optometrist diagnoses that you have blepharitis and Demodex then they will recommend a specific course of treatment for you to reduce the levels of Demodex mites on your lids and lashes.

Blepharitis is a chronic (long-term) condition. It is therefore important to continue your treatment as recommended by your Optometrist, in order to keep the eyelids healthy and minimise symptoms.