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Blepharitis (cont.)

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What causes blepharitis?

Blepharitis involves the eyelid margins, where the eyelashes grow and the openings of the tiny oil glands are located. There may be involvement of the skin adjacent to the outer edges of the eyelid margins and/or the inner edge of the eyelid that comes into contact with the eyeball secondary to the underlying disorder of the lid margins.

Most cases of blepharitis are posterior blepharitis, due to inflammation of the meibomian glands of the lids. There are about 40 of these glands in each of the upper and lower lids. The eyelid margins can become inflamed, irritated, and itchy when these glands produce abnormal secretions. Blepharitis is often seen in patients with acne rosacea, a generalized illness of oil glands.

Anterior blepharitis is due to inflammation of the lid margin around the lashes. Seborrheic blepharitis is similar to dandruff of the scalp. Staphylococcal blepharitis is a result of bacterial infection of the lashes. Microscopic mite infection causes demodex blepharitis.

Allergies due to reactions from  mascara, contact lens solutions, sprays, exposure to animals, environmental chemicals, or airborne allergens can also cause blepharitis.

Less commonly, inflammation of the lids can be caused by head lice.

What are the symptoms and signs of blepharitis?

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis usually are present in both eyes, affecting the upper and lower lids. They can appear at any age.

Symptoms (what you feel in the eyes or eyelids) include

  • itchy or irritated eyelids,
  •  mild tearing,
  •  dryness of the eyes,
  • burning sensation,
  • gritty or sandy sensation,
  • foreign-body sensation (the feeling that something "may be in the eye"),
  • crusting of the eyelids,
  • decreased comfort while wearing contact lenses, and
  • sensitivity to light.

Signs (observations that you make) of blepharitis include

  • red eye lid margins,
  • swollen eyelids,
  • increased shedding of skin cells near your eyelids, causing flaking of the skin around the eyes,
  • matting of the lashes or eyes "glued together" in the morning,
  • eyelids that appear greasy and crusted with scales that cling to the lashes,
  • crusted eyelashes upon awakening,
  • tears that are frothy or bubbly in nature,
  • eyelashes that grow abnormally,
  • loss of eyelashes,
  • mild scarring of the eyelid margins,
  • mild ulceration of the lid margins,
  • dry and flaky patches of skin on the lid, and
  • dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows.

The symptoms and signs of blepharitis are often erroneously ascribed by the patient as being due to "recurrent conjunctivitis." They are also often mistakenly attributed to "dry eye" by patients due to the gritty sensation that may occur. Lubricating drops, however, do little to improve the condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/17/2013

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/blepharitis/article.htm

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