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What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eye lid margins (around the root of the eyelashes). The eyelids contain glands which produce an oily secretion that helps to lubricate the surface of the eye. When these glands are not working properly, blepharitis can develop. There is a gradual build up of dead cells and bacteria, which can cause blockage of the gland and crusting around the root of the eyelashes, making the eye red and uncomfortable.

Why does it happen?

No one really knows. It is a very common condition and not caused by anything you have or have not done.

Can it harm my eyes?

Not usually, but if blepharitis is ignored or left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the eye itself, this can make the eye red, itchy and generally uncomfortable.

How is it treated?

You may be given drops or ointment to use in the short term. However, in the long term blepharitis, often cannot be prevented from coming back. Therefore it is important to adopt the lid hygiene program described overleaf, which may be required long term.

What is the purpose of the treatment?

The purpose of the treatment we recommend, is to break down and remove the crusting and bacteria from around the eyelashes, helping the glands to work normally again.

How can I help?

• Frequent hair washing may help improve the symptoms.

• Avoid eye make up.

• Avoiding smoky atmospheres

• By regularly cleaning the eye lid margins keeping them free from crusting.

Treatment – Lid Hygiene

• Once the blepharitis is under control, lid hygiene should be continued as part of your daily routine.

• This treatment should be carried out morning and evening for a minimum of six weeks to bring the blepharitis under control.

• Take care to avoid the shampoo going into the eyes.

• Repeat this several times.

• Use a cotton bud dipped in the shampoo solution, or an eye make up removal pad dipped in the shampoo solution. Remove excess fluid from the bud/pad. Gently scrub the eyelid margins at the root of the eyelashes.

• Mix 1/4 of a capful of baby shampoo into a cup of cooled boiled water.

A fresh solution should be made each timeyou carry out the lid hygiene program.Wash hands before and after treatment.

Why baby shampoo?

Baby shampoo is a mild shampoo, easy to obtain and made not to sting the eyes. A soapy solution is needed to break down the oily secretions and remove the crusting, that forms around the root of the eyelashes, helping the glands to work again.

This leaflet is for generalised information only.For personalised information, please speak to a memberof clinical staff.

Designed & produced by Medical Illustration Services 237647

For reprints please call x24692

June 2002, review date June 2007.

Written by Margaret Gray.

Last Updated: 06 February 2015