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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Blepharitis is a common and treatable inflammation of the inner rim of the eyelid, usually affecting both eyes. Irritation, itching, burning, excessive tears, and crusty debris or skin flakes around the eyelashes may occur.

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.

Doctor’s advice

How can I improve symptoms?

General cleansing of the eyelids with cotton balls and warm wet washcloths can help. Eye care, which should be performed twice daily, 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 ball, wiping along the lid margins in the direction of the lashes to help remove any pore-blocking dried oil deposits. Avoid wearing eye makeup or contact lenses while you're in a flare-up.

Healthwords pharmacists' top tips

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 makeup 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 moisturize 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.

Am I fit for work?

You are fit for work if you have blepharitis.

When should I see my doctor?

If your symptoms don't get better within 2 weeks or are recurrent, you should see your doctor or optometrist.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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