Blepharitis is an eyelid inflammation. It may be caused by various factors such as general eye infection, bacterial infection, dry eye and skin diseases such as acne rosacea.
Most commonly blepharitis is caused by malfunction of oil glands located in the eyelids. The oil glands may produce too much, not enough or the wrong type of oils and thus to trigger the onset of blepharitis. In many cases, acne rosacea, a general oil gland disorder, may be the reason why eyelid oil glands fail to function properly.
Blepharitis may also be caused by some allergies, especially allergies to eye cosmetics or contact lenses solutions.
Blepharitis infections fall into two main categories according to their area of effect:
• Anterior blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis affects the outer edge of the eyelids (the area where the eye lashes are attached).
• Posterior blepharitis. Posterior blepharitis is inflammation of the meibomian glands of the eye (located inside the eyelid).
Usually, people with blepharitis have both types at the same time but with different degrees of severity.
The symptoms of blepharitis typically affect both eyes and both the upper and the lower eyelids. Blepharitis may appear at any age.
The most common symptoms of blepharitis include:
• Burning and/or itching sensation in the eyes.
• A feeling of a foreign body inside the eye.
• Sore and red eyelids.
• Swollen margins of the eyelids.
• Excessive tearing.
• Crusting, especially during sleep.
• Greasy and/or oily eyelashes.
• Increased sensitivity to light.
• Blurry vision.
• Loss of eyelashes or abnormal eyelash growth.
• Dandruff of the eyelashes and eyebrows.
The majority of people with blepharitis usually experience short periods with severe blepharitis symptoms, typically worse in the mornings, followed by long periods of time without any symptoms. The exact type of the symptoms of blepharitis a person may have largely depends on the cause of the inflammation. For instance, when blepharitis is caused by dry eye, along with its symptoms a person may experience some dry eye symptoms as well.
Although blepharitis rarely leads to severe vision complications, several serious eye conditions such as sty, chalazion and chronic pink eye, may be caused by untreated blepharitis.
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