Blepharitis is a common and treatable inflammation of the inner rim of the eyelid, usually affecting both eyes. There may be irritation, itching, burning, excessive tears and crusty debris or skin flakes around the eyelashes.
You may also have redness around the eyes and missing eyelashes. Common causes are bacterial eyelid infections, meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eyes, fungal eyelid infections and parasites. Blepharitis can be a recurrent or chronic problem, and patients often have other associated skin conditions such as rosacea and dandruff. Blepharitis is not contagious.
General cleansing of the eyelids with cotton wool balls and warm wet flannels can help. Eye care, which should be performed twice a day, is key to blepharitis treatment. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of warm compress on closed eyelids, then clean the eyelid gently with a cloth or cotton bud, wiping along the lid margins in the direction of the lashes to help remove any pore-blocking dried oil deposits. Avoid wearing eye make-up or contact lenses while you're in a flare-up.
A cleansing solution such as Blephasol preservative-free eyelid cleansing solution can provide daily hygiene of sensitive eyelids caused by blepharitis. It can be used to clear debris, particularly near the edge of the eyelids between the eyelashes and the surface of the eye. It is free from alcohol, detergents or preservatives and is non-greasy and non-irritant, so good for sensitive eyes. It can also be used daily as an eye make-up remover and is safe for contact lens wearers.
Eye baths can help to wash any debris away and soothe the eye. Eye ointments, gels or sprays may also help to moisturise the eyelids to prevent drying and flaking along the eyelashes, especially when sufferers are in a dry environment such as working in areas with air conditioning or fans.
You are fit for work if you have blepharitis.
If your symptoms don't get better within 2 weeks, or are recurrent, you should see your doctor or optometrist.
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