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Blepharitis (cont.)

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Is blepharitis contagious?

Since blepharitis is usually noninfectious, the vast majority of blepharitis cases are not contagious.

What blepharitis symptoms and signs?

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis are usually present in both eyes, affecting the upper and lower lids. They can appear at any age. Symptoms (what one feels 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 one makes) of blepharitis include

  • red eyelid margins,
  • swollen eyelids,
  • thickened eyelids,
  • increased shedding of skin cells near the eyelids, causing flaking of the skin around the eyes,
  • matting of the lashes or eyes appearing "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 (seborrhea) 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 7/24/2017


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