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Blepharitis

Blepharitis is inflammation of the margins of the eyelids. Blepharitis can occur in children and adults of any age.

Signs and symptoms

  • a feeling of “something in the eye”
  • excessive or frothy tears
  • itchiness
  • excessive blinking
  • photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • crusty or sticky eyelashes, particularly in the morning.

Diagnosis

  • Your ophthalmologist will ask you about your symptoms and carefully examine your eyes.
  • The examination may include a vision test and an assessment with a special microscope called a slit lamp.
  • If the inflammation looks unusual or does not respond to treatment, a laboratory “culture” of the eyelid margin may be needed to identify any bacteria.
  • In rare cases, the ophthalmologist may advise that a biopsy be taken. A tiny piece of the eyelid margin is removed and examined under a microscope.

Treatment

The aim of treatment is firstly to get rid of the infection. Your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic ointment. Oral antibiotics can be useful in severe cases. Secondly, any underlying condition (such as dry eye syndrome) needs to be treated.

Treatment may take weeks or months before the condition is controlled. Blepharitis is often an ongoing condition. Symptoms may recur. Regular long-term treatment usually helps to control the symptoms.

Further information

Last updated: June 14, 2019

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