Blepha-what? Blepharitis: an annoying and painful ailment that causes extreme irritation to the eyelids. The nasty condition we discussed in a recent post happens to be closely associated with dry eye disease.
Blepharitis and dry eye disease are two conditions that are notoriously intertwined. As we mentioned previously, in blepharitis, (also sometimes known as meibomian gland dysfunction) glands become badly inflamed and pores become blocked. Since blepharitis bacteria destroy the essential oily coat that protects the tear film, the condition is commonly accompanied by dry eye disease. In fact, blepharitis is one of the most common causes of dry eye disease.
Up to half of people who suffer from blepharitis also deal with dry eyes. Symptoms of blepharitis can range from absolutely nothing to various, brutal combinations of burning, tired eyes, discharge and scaling of the eyelids margins. Sufferers frequently awaken with crusty, sticky eyelids. Keep in mind that though it is uncommon, blepharitis can have more serious side effects including: injuries to the cornea, sties and scarring on the eyelids. It is imperative to visit a doctor and get early treatment to avoid such side effects as well as complications such as dry eye disease.
Though we always recommend you see a qualified doctor first, there are several “at-home” methods and tips you may want to consider:
- Throw away eye makeup after 3 months and invest in disposable applicators.
- Look for products that are hypo-allergenic and remove ALL eye makeup before bedtime.
- Before bed, soak a (clean) cloth in warm water. Press the cloth onto your eyes and then wipe softly towards the outside corner of your eye. If you need to repeat these steps, make sure you’re using different ends of the cloth. (Do this for at least four minutes, daily.)
- Gently massage (with clean hands!) your eyelids immediately after applying the warmth.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day (and evening!)
- Ensure you maintain proper eyelid hygiene and consider a lid-cleaning solution.
- Avoid harsh cleansing products. They will only disturb and irritate the eyes further.
- Get sufficient sleep! Seven hours of sleep per night allows the body time to heal and gives your eyes an adequate rest.
- If contact lenses become uncomfortable, wear glasses until symptoms are under control.
Although blepharitis does not typically cause permanent damage to eyesight, it can be a frustrating and chronic problem. Luckily, symptoms can be controlled in most cases. If you are experiencing any symptoms of blepharitis, dry eye or both- see a doctor to determine cause and proper treatment.
Have you experienced blepharitis? Did the condition lead to dry eye syndrome? How did/do YOU cope? Leave a comment or tweet us @allaboutdryeye and let us know!