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Flakey, itchy lids? Could it be blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margin. It can be caused by overgrowth of bacteria that live along the lid margins, Meibomian gland dysfunction, parasites (Demodex lash mites) and dry eyes. Blepharitis is also commonly associated with skin conditions including psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and ocular rosacea. Symptoms of blepharitis include burning eyes, grittiness, watery eyes and itchy lids.

There is often a dandruff like debris observed at the base of the lashes. The debris is a result of the bacteria producing waste which builds up on the lashes and lid margins. This causes inflammation of the Meibomian glands, also on the lid margins, which in turn affects tear production and subsequently ocular comfort. The Demodex lash mites mentioned earlier, feed on the waste product, proliferate and cause further lid margin inflammation.

Active blepharitis often requires medicated lid scrubs, eye drops and/or ointments to help calm the inflammatory response. We also provide treatments such as BlephEx, Meibomian gland expression and concentrated lid scrubs in our consulting rooms.

Blepharitis is most often a chronic condition and the best way to keep it from coming back is to clean your lids daily.

Here are a few lid hygiene tips:

*minimise the use of make up if you have active blepharitis

*wash your hands before touching your eyes

*place a warm to hot face washer (run under warm/hot water), or preferably a microwavable eye compress, over your closed eyes for 10 minutes, then use the face washer to gently massage the lid margins

*use warm water to moisten a cotton makeup pad or facewasher

*gently wipe the lashes close to the lid margin, wipe from the outer edge in, use a separate pad/facewasher for the other eye and repeat

*rinse the eyes with warm water

Please note the above tips are not adequate for treating active blepharitis.

During your eye examination we will assess your eyes and determine whether your symptoms are caused by blepharitis and prescribe the appropriate treatment accordingly.

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