Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is blepharitis?
- What causes blepharitis?
- What are the symptoms and signs of blepharitis?
- How is blepharitis diagnosed?
- What are complications of blepharitis?
- What is the treatment for blepharitis?
- What is the prognosis for blepharitis?
- Blepharitis At A Glance
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
What is the treatment for blepharitis?
In many cases, good eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine can control blepharitis. This includes frequent scalp and face washing, using warm compresses to soak the eyelids, and doing eyelid scrubs.
The single most important treatment principle is a daily routine of lid margin hygiene. The following is a typical lid margin hygiene routine:
- Soften lid margin debris and oils: Apply a warm wet compress to the
lids -- suchas a washcloth with hot water -- forfive to 10 minutes two to four times a day, depending on the degree of symptoms. If you want to keep the compresses warm for a longer period of time, you may want to place a small hot water bottle over the compress. Using a clean washcloth for each cleansing is important.
- Mechanically remove lid margin debris: After using the compresses, cleanse the eyelids with a cotton applicator stick soaked in a 4 to 1 mixture of water and baby shampoo or an over-the-counter lid-cleansing product. Gently and repeatedly rub along the lid margins while the eyes are closed. Be careful to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes.
Limiting or stopping the use of eye makeup when treating blepharitis is often recommended, as its use will make lid hygiene more difficult.
If you wear contact lenses, you may have to temporarily discontinue wearing them during treatment.
Other treatment depends on the specific type of blepharitis. The key to treating most types of blepharitis is keeping the lids clean and free of crusts.
If you have dandruff, using a dandruff shampoo may help alleviate your symptoms.
In cases where a bacterial infection is the cause, various antibiotic drops or ointment and other medications may be prescribed along with eyelid hygiene.
Depending on the degree of inflammation of the lid margin, a combination of topical antibiotic and steroid drops or ointments can be prescribed by your physician.
If the blepharitis is thought to be secondary to acne rosacea, treatment with oral doxycycline might be prescribed together with the above lid-margin hygiene routine.
If the blepharitis is due to allergy, efforts should be made to identify and reduce the exposure to the offending agent. Prescription and over-the-counter drop or oral antihistamines may be used. If it is caused by an allergy at home or at work, simply avoiding the allergen (for example, a dog or cat) may avoid future problems.
Recently, there has been some evidence that oral omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in the treatment of blepharitis.
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