Eye Care

Blepharitis: The Nitty Gritty on Swollen Eyelids

If you’ve any spent time researching dry eyes and dry eye syndrome, you’ve probably stumbled across the term blepharitis. It’s a condition when your eyelids become inflamed, usually because of bacteria. In addition to swollen eyelids, it can cause crusties on your eyelashes (yes, that is the technical term) or glue your eyes together in the morning. You might hear the term Meibomian Gland Disorder (or MGD), which sometimes gets used interchangeably. But more accurately, MGD is a specific type of blepharitis.

No matter which term gets thrown around, what you need to know is that it’s one of the biggest causes of dry eye syndrome. If you think you have blepharitis, your doctor will be able to accurately diagnose you. But there are also a few things you can do daily to help keep the inflammation under control. Before we get to the remedies, let’s look more closely at the symptoms and causes of Blepharitis.

What Causes Blepharitis?

Blepharitis, specifically anterior blepharitis,  happens when you have too much bacteria lurking on your eyelids. This extra bacteria aggravates your skin and eyelashes and results in painful inflammation, eyelashes falling out, watery or itchy eyes, dry eyes, and crusty eyelashes.

Posterior blepharitis, on the other hand, is when your Meibomian glands get clogged. It leads to many of the same symptoms, just with the problem starting on the inner part of your eyelids. Your meibomian glands provide the oil to your tear film, which helps the water part of your tears not evaporate as quickly.

What Can You Do to Relieve Blepharitis?

Whether you have one or both types of blepharitis, there are two things you can add to your daily routine to help keep your blepharitis, and dry eye, under control.

1. Start with an eyelid wash.

Regularly washing your eyelids will help get rid of the offending bacteria, not to mention clear away any crusties or dandruff that have made themselves at home on your eyelids. You can use a baby shampoo solution or go for a quality eyelid scrub, wipe or spray. These products are specifically designed to be gentle on the eye area while thoroughly cleansing and offering relief. OcuSoft and Bruder are trusted brand that has several eyelid cleansing options available for whatever works best for you.

2. Use a warm compress.

If your blepharitis is triggered by clogged Meibomian glands, use a warm compress to help get things back on track. When the oil is flowing properly through your glands, it can solidify and act as a stopper. Placing a warm compress over your eyes helps warm up the oil and loosen the blockage, all while relieving the inflammation and soothing dry eyes.

3. Practice good hygiene.

This might be obvious, but we’ll go there. In addition to eyelid-specific hygiene, day-to-day hygiene will also help, especially if you have oily skin or dandruff. Additionally, forgoing eye makeup (or at the very least being vigilant about removing it every night) can also help. Just remember, anything extra on your eyelid, whether it’s oil, makeup, or pesky dandruff flakes, can aggravate blepharitis.

If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our dry eye bundles that have all the basic necessities. They’ll cover eyelid cleansing and anything else you might need to maintain healthy eyes. Each of these CareBundles was curated with recommendations from some of the top doctors and providers across the country.

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