Eye Conditions: What is Blepharitis?
If your eyes often itch and burn and your eyelids frequently appear swollen and red, you may be suffering from an irritating eye condition called blepharitis. Sometimes mistaken for conjunctivitis, blepharitis is a relatively common condition that typically does not cause harm to your vision. In severe cases though, other serious issues can arise if left untreated.
Fortunately, this condition can be diagnosed with relatively simple medical testing, and treatment options can provide relief from irritating symptoms. If you think you are suffering from blepharitis, do not hesitate to discuss your concerns with our experienced eye doctor.
Blepharitis Causes and Symptoms
Dr. Ryczek detects many cases of blepharitis during regular comprehensive eye exams. Blepharitis is often associated with skin conditions, such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and ocular rosacea, but it can also occur for a number of other reasons.
Some of the most common causes of blepharitis include:
- Bacterial or fungal eyelid infections
- Dry eyes
- Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)
- Eyelash mites
Depending on the cause of blepharitis, you may experience some or all of the most common symptoms.
Common signs and symptoms of blepharitis include:
- Swollen, inflamed or reddened eyelids
- Watery eyes
- Sensations of burning, stinging, and itching
- Crust and debris at the eyelid/eyelash margins (usually worse after waking from sleep)
- Eyelids that appear greasy
- Sensitivity to light
- Abnormal or misdirected eyelash growth
The presence of these symptoms may be sporadic or constant depending on the severity of your condition. Based on these factors, the type of treatment prescribed to you may vary.
Seeking treatment for blepharitis is not simply about finding relief from irritating symptoms. Chronic blepharitis that is left untreated can have negative consequences.
Consequences for not seeking treatment can include:
- Eyelid scarring
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Development of infections such as styes and chalazions
- An onset of chronic conjunctivitis
- Development of cornea ulcers
- Blurred vision due to poor tear film
The best way to avoid these issues and to find relief from irritating symptoms is to seek a professional diagnosis in order to get the best treatment results possible.
Generally, the use of eyelid scrubs, medicated eye drops and/or ointments can have a positive impact on blepharitis. In some cases though, blepharitis may require additional treatment methods, such as electromechanical, thermal, or intense pulsed light procedures. The best way to determine which method is right for you is to discuss your options with Dr. Ryczek during your appointment.
Preventing Blepharitis Through Good Hygiene
While treatment for blepharitis can greatly reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with this condition, it does not often clear up entirely. Sometimes, even when treatment is successful, the condition can resurface. To prevent blepharitis from recurring and to minimize the onset of symptoms, take care of your eyes with good at-home hygiene. A simple daily cleansing routine with a clean wash cloth, water and non-irritant soap can help you keep your eyelids clean. Dr. Ryczek can also discuss prevention with you during your visit.
To schedule an appointment with our experienced eye doctor, call our St. Petersburg office at 727-327-8855. Dr. Ryczek has many years of experiencing helping eye care patients see clearly and comfortably.