Blepharitis is a common condition where the edges of the eyelids (eyelid margins) become red and swollen (inflamed).
The condition can develop at any age, and symptoms can include:
- itchy, sore and red eyelids that stick together
- crusty or greasy eyelashes
- a burning, gritty sensation in your eyes
- increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- swollen eyelid margins
- finding contact lenses uncomfortable to wear
- abnormal eyelash growth or loss of eyelashes in severe cases
There are a number of treatment options, however, 6 monthly in-practice treatments are highly effective in maintaining lid hygiene. Depending on the type of blepharitis, a variety of eye lid wipes or warm compresses may also be recommended.
What is Demodex?
Demodex infestation can lead to eye irritation, burning and itching of the eyes, red eyelid margins with typical cylindrical dandruff, dry eye and visual complaints such as blurred vision.
Demodex is a common mite. Research shows that Demodex infestation increases with age, occurring in 84 percent of the population at age 60.
Although most clinicians think of the Demodex mite as a harmless, ubiquitous resident of the skin, current evidence suggests that Demodex can cause or exacerbate blepharitis. It is thought that Demodex overpopulation (demodicidosis) is responsible for various skin disorders such as rosacea.
1. Blephex Treatment
An in-practice deep eyelid exfoliation to remove bacterial debris and scurf from the eyelash margins. Blephex treatment provides the ideal kick start to at-home lid hygiene. We recommend treatment every 6 months.
2. Intense Pulsed Light Treatment
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment has been shown to be effective in the treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). MGD is a common form of blepharitis which is often difficult to treat. Common treatments are warm compresses – which are not always effective.
Furthermore, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests IPL treatment is effective in killing Demodex mites.
Many patients are often told to use warm compresses to treat blepharitis. The heat from the compresses melt the oily secretions blocking the openings of the oil producing glands (known as meibomian glands) and to soften debris and flakes on the eye lashes.
Fortunately, warm compresses are available in the form of heat retaining reusable bags (EyeBags) which can be warmed in a microwave and retain heat for a sustained period (generally you should apply the compress for 12 minutes).
Massage your eyelids by gently rolling your first finger over them in a circular motion or running the length of your finger up and down the eyelids towards the eyelashes. This helps to push out the oil from the tiny eyelid glands.
Regular lid hygiene using lid wipes is recommended to help remove crusty dandruff-like flakes at the base of the eye lashes. Lid wipes should be used twice daily even in the absence of symptoms to prevent the condition causing further problems.
Lids wipes are preferred over moistened cotton buds for two reasons. Firstly because lid wipes are impregnated with a chemical designed to loosen debris on the lids. Secondly, the wipes are sterile whereas cotton buds may not be once the container is opened.
For non-demodex related blepharitis we recommend Blephaclean, whereas for demodex blepharitis OcuSoft lid wipes are advised.
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