Diseases & Conditions

Blepharitis / Meibomian Gland Disease

Blepharitis is a common inflammation of the eyelid margins causing red, irritated and itchy eyelids. There is formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes. It may result from a bacterial infection or related to inflammation of special glands along the lid margin (Meibomian gland disease). There may be associated skin conditions like dandruff of the scalp or acne rosacea. It affects people of all ages. Although uncomfortable, blepharitis is not contagious and generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight. It can be aggravated by dusty, dry, smoky atmospheres.

What are the symptoms?

  • Crusting around the eyelashes
  • Red-rimmed eyes
  • Burning/itching/dry sensations
  • Watering of the eyes

You may not have all of the symptoms at the same time.

Can it damage my vision?

In severe cases, there may be blurring of vision, growth of abnormal mis-directed lashes that can rub on the cornea and cause permanent damage to vision.

How will blepharitis be treated?

Regular daily cleaning of lashes (lid hygiene) is the cornerstone of controlling the lid margin inflammation

  • Dampen a face towel under the hot water tap; hold it on the eyelids with the eye closed, pressing over the eyelashes for approximately three minutes. Alternately you may use a heat pad. These can be purchased from your local pharmacy.
  • Using the same damp cloth, clean the eyelid margin from the nose outwards to remove any debris.
  • Massage the eyelids just above and below the margin from the nose outwards for 30 seconds to squeeze out excessive secretions from the lid glands.
  • Rinse the eyes by splashing cold water from the tap.
  • Apply a small quantity of antibiotic cream (if advised by the doctor) along the lashes.

Follow this procedure morning and evening for a minimum of one months, and then once daily indefinitely.

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of the M42 group, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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