What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. It's a common cause of sore, red eyelids and crusty eyelashes.
Eyelid inflammation is very common: In a recent survey of American ophthalmologists (eye MDs) and optometrists (ODs), these eye doctors reported that 37 percent and 47 percent of their patients, respectively, have had blepharitis symptoms at some point.
This survey also found that younger people reported more (and more frequent) blepharitis symptoms than older people, which contradicts conventional wisdom about eyelid inflammation.
There are several possible causes of blepharitis, including:
- Bacterial eyelid infection
- Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)
- Dry eyes
- Fungal eyelid infection
- Parasites (Demodex eyelash mites)
Blepharitis and dry eyes often occur at the same time, causing confusion whether dry eye causes blepharitis or blepharitis causes dry eye.
This happens so often that some researchers and eye doctors now believe these two conditions may be part of a single chronic eye problem called dry eye blepharitis syndrome (DEBS).
According to supporters of this theory, dry eye is simply the late manifestation of blepharitis, and treating blepharitis also will prevent, reduce or eliminate dry eye symptoms.
Blepharitis usually is associated with an overgrowth of bacteria that live along the margins of the eyelids and at the base of the eyelashes. Over time, these bacteria multiply and create a structure called a biofilm.
This biofilm becomes a toxic environment — like the plaque that forms on your teeth. Parasitic eyelash mites called Demodex feed on the biofilm, which in turn leads to an overgrowth of these mites that causes a worsening of the eyelid inflammation.
Bacteria in the eyelid biofilm also produce substances called exotoxins that cause inflammation of oil-secreting glands in the eyelids called meibomian glands. This causes a condition called meibomian gland dysfunction, which causes (and worsens) dry eye discomfort.
Blepharitis also is frequently associated with skin conditions, such as ocular rosacea, eczema, dandruff and psoriasis. And often, blepharitis and pink eye occur at the same time.
The most common symptoms of blepharitis are:
- Burning or stinging eyes
- Crusty debris at the base of eyelashes
- Irritated, watery eyes
- Itchy eyelids
- Grittiness or a foreign body sensation
Depending on the severity of blepharitis, you may have some or all of these symptoms, and blepharitis symptoms may be intermittent or constant. In some cases, blepharitis also causes loss of eyelashes (madarosis).
Blepharitis also is a common cause of contact lens discomfort, forcing many people to give up wearing contacts.
Ozonated oil and blepharitis
Blepharitis necessitating adequate antinflammatory therapy as conjunctivitis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca and corneal ulcers, actually treated by topical administration of eye drops containing antinflammatory and antibacterial agents. The current molecules often lack efficacy because infections in hypoxic tissue contain methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and new products for the treatment of ocular pain and inflammation are need.