What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a common, often chronic, eye condition that affects people of all ages. It is characterised by inflammation of the eyelids, typically affecting the base of the eyelashes. While blepharitis is not usually serious, it can cause discomfort and irritation to the eye and eyelids. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for blepharitis is essential for managing this condition effectively.

Causes of Blepharitis:

Blepharitis can be caused by several factors, including bacterial infections and clogged oil glands near the base of the eyelashes (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction). Certain skin conditions such as rosacea, Demodex infestation and seborrheic dermatitis are also associated. Poor eyelid hygiene and allergies can contribute to the development of blepharitis.


The symptoms of blepharitis can vary depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include:
  • Irritation and redness of the eyelids
  • Itchy or burning sensation in the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Flaking or scaling of the skin around the eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurred vision
In some cases, blepharitis can lead to complications such as styes or conjunctivitis if left untreated which can result in changes to the eyelid structure and corneal damage if severe.


Treatment for blepharitis typically involves a combination of eyelid hygiene practices, medications, and lifestyle changes. Some common treatment options include:
  • Warm compresses: Applying warm compresses to the eyes can help to loosen crusts and improve oil gland function.
  • Eyelid hygiene: Keeping the eyelids clean by gently washing them with warm water and mild soap can help to reduce inflammation and remove debris.
  • Lid scrubs: Using commercially available eyelid scrubs or wipes can help to remove bacteria and debris from the eyelids.
  • Antibiotic ointments or eye drops: In cases where blepharitis is caused by bacterial infections, antibiotics may be prescribed to help clear the infection.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Steroid eye drops or ointments may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms in more severe cases.
  • Omega-3 supplements: Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may help to improve the symptoms of blepharitis due to the anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Avoiding eye makeup: People with blepharitis may need to avoid wearing eye makeup until the condition improves, as makeup can exacerbate symptoms and increase the risk of infection.


Blepharitis is a common eye condition that can cause discomfort and irritation if left untreated. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for blepharitis, you can take steps to manage the condition effectively and reduce the risk of complications. If you experience symptoms of blepharitis, it’s essential to consult with your eye care professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. With proper care and treatment, most people with blepharitis can experience relief from their symptoms and improve the overall health of their eyes.

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If you are concerned about your own or your child’s vision it’s best to book an eye examination to have this properly tested and diagnosed.


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  3. D. Willmann, C. P. Guier, B. C. Patel, S. W. Melanson. Stye. StatPearls (2023) (