What Is Blepharitis?

What Is Blepharitis?

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What Is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. The membrane covering the inside of the eyelid and the white of the eye may also become inflamed. Blepharitis can be caused by bacteria (germs) on the eyelids or on the skin around the eyes. Dandruff or oily skin can also cause blepharitis. Wearing contact lenses or makeup can make the symptoms worse. Blepharitis can’t always be cured. But it can be controlled.

Front view of eye showing red, swollen eyelids. Cyst (chalazion) is on upper eyelid. Stye is on lower eyelid. Flakes or crusts are on base of eyelashes.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Oil and bacteria coat the eyelids near the base of the eyelashes. You may then have:

  • Redness of the eyelids.

  • Swelling and tenderness of the eyelids.

  • Itching around the eyelashes.

  • Greasy flakes or scales around the eyelashes.

  • Hard crusts at the base of the eyelashes. These crusts may cause the eyelashes to fall out.

Flakes or crusts can form during the night. If this happens, it may be hard for you to open your eyes in the morning. If blepharitis is not treated promptly, it can lead to a stye (an infection at the base of an eyelash or oil gland). Left untreated, this may become a chronic cyst, which may require surgery to remove.