Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. It is a common eye condition that makes your eyelids red, swollen, irritated, and itchy. It can cause crusty dandruff-like flakes on your eyelashes. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable, but it isn’t contagious.
Typically blepharitis occurs because there is an excessive amount of bacteria present on the eyelids, specifically at the base of the eyelashes. Blepharitis can also occur if the oil glands in the eyelids become clogged or irritated.
Some of the most common risk factors for blepharitis include: dry eye, improper makeup use, ocular rosacea, allergies, demodex and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.
Common symptoms of blepharitis are:
- Burning or stinging eyes
- Foreign body sensation
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Red or swollen eyelids
- Sensitivity to light
- Crusty eyelids or eyelashes when you wake up
- Tears that are foamy or have small bubbles in them
- Dry eyes
Blepharitis can also cause more serious problems like:
- Blurry vision, that is not permanent
- Loss of lashes
- Secondary eye infection and conjunctivitis
You’re at higher risk for blepharitis if you have:
- Oily skin
- Allergies that affect your eyelashes
Lid scrubs are recommended to help clean along the lashes. This not only decreases bacteria, but also skin cells that can cause the eyelids to get inflamed and cause dry eyes and infections. A a safe eyelid cleaner like Bihocl is recommended for this. Your doctor may also recommend an in office treatment called ZEST.
Demodex is a type of mite that can cause blepharitis, resulting in inflammation of the eyelids and severe dry eye. They live mostly within the hair follicles on the face and the eyes, and are usually found on the eyelids and lashes.
Demodex mites are active at night, eating dead skin cells, laying eggs and expelling waste products in your eyelid glands and eyelash follicles. They naturally occur on the skin in small amounts and can actually be beneficial for the skin, as they remove the dead skin cells. In small numbers, they typically do not cause any harm or symptoms. However, if they reproduce in large numbers, they can cause significant damage to the skin and eyes— dry, red, and itchy skin, and/or eczema, as well as severe inflammation of the eyelids, and damage to the oil glands in the eyelid margins, meibomian glands and eyelashes.
Demodex mites become more prevalent with age, and are typically the cause of blepharitis in patients over the age of 60. Additionally, patients with chronic rosacea tend to have more demodex mites than people without rosacea, putting them at a higher risk of developing demodex blepharitis.
ZEST (Zocular Eyelid System treatment) ZEST is like a deep shampoo for the eyes to clean and debride the lids and lashes. The procedure involves applying a gel to the eyelid margin and lashes with a cotton swab and cleaning in a circular motion, working the gel into a lather. Following the deep cleansing procedure, the gel is rinsed off with saline solution. The ZEST gel is formulated with a refined extract of okra- an edible green seed pod; to lift and clear oil, debris and residue along the eyelid margin. It also an effective treatment against Demodex.
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