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Blepharitis is a common eye condition; it is an inflammation of the eyelids and both eyes are usually affected by it. The most common cause of blepharitis is a bacterial infection in the gland of the eyelids and eyelash follicles. This condition appears in two forms; on top of the eyelid, referred to as anterior, and the bottom of the eyelid, referred to as posterior. Blepharitis can appear in children and adults of all ages.

Signs and Symptoms of Blepharitis

  • Sticky or crusty eyelashes (particularly in the morning time)
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Excessive blinking
  • Feeling like you have “something in your eye”
  • Itchiness
  • Excessive or “frothy” tears

If you are displaying the above symptoms and are concerned please contact us today to book an eye examination.

Diagnosing Blepharitis

When you come to your appointment your ophthalmologist will ask you what symptoms you have displayed and will carefully examine your eyes. Although examinations vary from patient to patient, your examination may include a vision test and an assessment using a slit lamp (specialist microscope that can be focussed to shine a thin high-intensity light on the eye).

If the inflammation of the eye looks unusual or fails to respond to treatment, then we may require to take a laboratory “culture” of the eyelid margin in order to identify any bacteria present. In very rare cases your ophthalmologist may require for a biopsy to be taken for a more detailed examination (a tiny part of the eyelid margin is removed and examined closely under a microscope).

Blepharitis Treatment

In order to plan the best treatment for our patients we require your medical history to ensure that no existing health problems will interfere with the recommended treatment. The aim of the blepharitis treatment of course is first to rid the eye/s of the infection; antibiotic ointment is usually prescribed, although in more severe cases oral antibiotics are given.

As blepharitis is an ongoing condition treatment can take weeks or in some cases even months to bring under control. As symptoms may recur, regular long-term treatment can be provided to patients to help control blepharitis symptoms. The recommended form of long-term blepharitis treatment is an eye cleaning routine, usually required twice daily until the condition has been controlled. Once the blepharitis is under control, the eye cleaning routine can be reduced to twice a week, but this will be advised by your ophthalmologist.

An eye cleaning routine will typically consist of:

  • Massaging the eyelid towards the eyelid margin
  • Cleaning the eyelid with tissue or a cotton bud and warm water, or a special eyelid cleaner in some cases
  • To loosen/soften crusting on eyelid, applying a warm compress for several minutes

If you are concerned that you may be suffering from blepharitis or would like more information on this condition please contact our practice today on (02) 9868 2333.

Anterior Blepharitis
Illustration of eye suffering from posterior blepharitis