Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation)
Blepharitis is identified as inflamed eyelids which may arise from a number of causes such as irritations and allergies, infections, and insect bites. It can range from a mild, chronic condition due to allergies, or to a severe form with ulcerated eyelids and even damage to the eyes or eyelids.
Self Help & Tips
Get Vitamins & Supplements for Eyelid Support.
- Don't rub your eye.
- A warm, wet compress can be soothing.
- Try a commercial lid "scrub" or baby shampoo on a cotton swab to wash your lids.
- Castor oil or honey on a q-tip can be applied
- Wash your hands, then bath your eyelids with a mixture of salt and baking soda.
- See self help details below.
Dysfunctioning of the meibomian gland may cause or contribute to blepharitis in the front or back of the eyelid.
Anterior blepharitis is found on the front and outside of the eyelid along the line of eyelashes. Inflammation there is most commonly caused by bacteria such as (Staphylococcus) and scalp dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis). Increased meibomian gland activity may also occur.2
Posterior blepharitis is found on the the inner moist part of the eyelid that touches the eyeball. It is caused by dysfunctioning meibomian glands. Among other causes there are two skin disorders can cause posterior blepharitis: scalp dandruff and acne rosacea leading to red and inflamed skin.3
Blepharitis is also linked to acne rosacea.
- Some causes include irritation, insect bites or infections.
- Allergies and sensitivities that manifest in the eyes.
- Environmental pollution or pollen allergies.
- See Drugs That Harm the Eyes for a list of potentially harmful drugs.
Conventional treatment depends on the specific type and severity of blepharitis. Mild symptoms may only require warm soaking and daily lid hygiene. Diluted baby shampoo may be used for cleansing of the lids. Other varieties may require antibiotics and/or cortisone cream, or even oral antibiotics, any of which should only be used under medical supervision.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes.
- Apply a warm, wet washcloth as a compress to the affected area and hold it in place until cool. Repeat this 3 to 4 times a day.
- Use a commercial lid "scrub" or baby shampoo on a cotton swab to wash your lids. We provide sterile, preservative- and fragrance-free Ilast Clean sterile eyelid cleansing gel.
- Castor oil: (fresh and from the health food store) - place a small bit on a q-tip and apply to the inner lower lid margin.
- Honey: same application as with castor oil. Thin with sterile spring water to reduce stinging. This can be done while doing the "Sunning" eye exercise (see free eye exercises) because it really brings on tearing. Honey is antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antiviral.
- Salt and baking soda: 1/4 teaspoon of salt + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 1/2 cup of warm water which has been boiled. Dip finger in the mixture and rub on eye lid margins with eyes closed. Once in the morning and once at night before bed.
- Massage protocol One study reports beneficial results with a specific massage protocol for blelpharitis1, as follows:
- Under a comfortably warm shower, close the affected eyelid(s) and using the thumb(s) and index finger(s), gently massage the upper lid downward with your index finger(s) and the lower lid upward with your thumb(s) for 30 seconds.
After showering use a warm water-moistened Q-tip to gently but firmly scrub all eyelid edges from where the lashes grow (not the red inside of the eyelid),
being careful to not touch the sensitive cornea.
Lower Lid: Hold the Q-tip in your hand, close enough to the tip for stability, perhaps an inch or two from the end. Use the index finger of the other hand to gently pull down the skin below your eye, to turn out the eyelid, so that it is further from the sensitive cornea. Scrub in small sections (1/5 of the eyelid length) for 3 seconds each across the edge.
Upper lid: This time hold and turn out the upper eyelid by reaching your hand over your head from above - so that again, the eyelid is turned away from the sensitive surface of the cornea. Using two finger to pull up the eyelid may work best.
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Research & Information
Although the underlying physiological cause may be unique, there may be similarities in terms of nutritional, diet and lifestyle recommendations made by Dr. Grossman for eye conditions that result in similar vision symptoms to those of blepharitis.
1. S.T. Yun, C.W. et al, Utilisation of a Novel Test to Measure Severity and Treatment Efficacy of Posterior Blepharitis, Journal of Ophthalmology, August, 2015.
2. National Eye Institute. Facts About Blepharitis. Retrieved Feb 10 2018 from https://nei.nih.gov/health/blepharitis/blepharitis.
3. Ibid. National Eye Institute. Facts About Blepharitis.