What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is caused by the accumulation of normal bacteria, which leads to dry eye. This inflammatory disease occurs when the bacteria live along the eyelid and the base of the eyelashes and traps dirt along the eyelashes.  The bacteria causes low-grade inflammation, which affects the tear glands and tear production. This allows even more bacteria to collect and a cycle of dry eye symptoms and chronic irritation is established.

How Does it Affect the Eye?

The condition occurs when the oil glands in the eyelids at the base of the eyelashes become clogged, which leads to redness and irritation of the eyes. Blepharitis can be unsightly and uncomfortable for the person experiencing it. If left untreated the oil producing glands and eyelids can become permanently damaged.

The base of the eyelashes become coated in oily particles as well as bacteria, which causes itchiness, irritation, stinging, redness, or burning in the eyes. The main cause of blepharitis is not understood, but it occurs because of certain dry eye symptoms, bacterial eye infection, or the onset of certain skin conditions (for example acne rosacea).

What are the Symptoms?

  • gritty or sandy feeling
  • burning
  • sensitivity to light
  • itching
  • excessive tearing
  • swollen eyelids
  • redness in the eye
  • dry eye
  • crusting of eyelashes on awakening
  • frothy tears

Treatment Methods:


Hot or Warm Compresses for 10-15 min:

This is best done with an eyelid heat mask such as a Bruder Mask or Therapearl Eye Mask

Lid Scrubs:

Using specially formulated lid wipes found at most pharmacies.

Rinse Eye Lids Well:

Making it a habit to rinse your eyes and clean them well (ex: thoroughly removing eye make-up) can help with lessening the symptoms from progressing.

In more persistent cases, our optometrists can clean your lashes and eyelids with a treatment called BlephEx. This treatment removes the exotoxin biofilm alongside the eyelashes and help correct some of the symptoms of blepharitis.

It is common for blepharitis to reoccur so a eyelid hygiene must be maintained for an extended period of time.