Blepharitis is a common, chronic inflammation of the eyelid. It is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria which breakdown the natural oils around the eyelids causing inflammation. Anterior blepharitis affects the base of the eyelashes whilst posterior blepharitis affects the meibomian glands, which are just behind the eyelashes.
There is a often a sandy or itchy feeling of the eyes, especially in the morning. There is usually a redness, as well as inflammation of the eyelid with crusting, scaling, deposits or discharge. It is more common in people who have eczema or rosacea.
The aim of treatment is to improve the function of the eyelid glands. Ongoing treatment is often required to prevent flare ups. If it has been present for a long time, permanent damage to the oil glands may cause long term symptoms.
Dip a clean face cloth in warm tap water (ensure that it is not hot enough to burn you). Hold it over both closed eyelids for 2 minutes. Repeat twice a day or as instructed by your ophthalmologist.
Using ‘Lid care’ or ‘Sterilid’ dip a cotton bud into the solution and rub along the eye lashes to clean away the crusting and discharge. Clean both the upper and lower eyelids and be very gentle to ensure that you don’t scratch the surface of your eye. Repeat twice a day or as instructed by your ophthalmologist.
After cleaning the eyelids, rub the ointment(s) into the eyelid margins with a clean finger. Instil lubricating eye drops throughout the day to relieve the irritation. To instil eye drops, tilt your head back and pull down the lower lid. Hold the bottle 2cm away from lids and squeeze 1 drop into the eye.
These supplements can help improve the tear dysfunction. They should be taken as prescribed by your ophthalmologist and they are available for purchase in our rooms and/or at the chemist.
For more severe cases, Blephasteam and Meibomian gland probing are two procedures performed by our Ophthalmologists.
Blephasteam involves wearing a pair of goggles that use steam to gently warm the eyes over a 15 minute procedure. This melts congealed oil in the Meibomian glands, enabling the ophthalmologist to then massage and squeeze out the debris, cleaning the glands. Following this treatment patients will resume the conventional treatment options described above.
Meibomian gland probing involves using a fine gauge probe to clear out each individual Meibomian gland along the upper and lower eyelids. The procedure is performed by the ophthalmologist under the operating microscope in the theatre, with a local anaesthetic. Post-operatively patients will resume the conventional treatment options described above.
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