Glands at the base of the eyelashes may become clogged, leading to eyelid disease, or blepharitis. While not harmful to your eyesight, blepharitis can be uncomfortable and unattractive. Dr. Arthur Charap of Inland Empire Dry Eye Center in Corona, California, can help you manage this often-chronic problem. Call today for an appointment.
There are many symptoms associated with eyelid disease, the most common being red and irritated lids. Your eyelids may appear red and swollen with a greasy appearance. The lids may be itchy and the lashes can stick together. Eyelashes get crusty overnight, and may exhibit abnormal growth and even rub against the eye.
There are two types blepharitis:
Anterior blepharitis refers to a staph infection at the base of lashes. Posterior blepharitis refers to inflammation and infection of the Meibomian glands, of which there are about 30 glands in each lid. In extreme cases, eyelashes may fall out. Eyes may feel stinging and burning sensations, with an overall gritty feeling. Blinking may be more frequent, and you may feel more sensitive to light. The skin around the eyes may also become flaky.
When Meibomian gland oil is infected, a process called saponification occurs. Saponification is a fancy term for the production of soap. Basically an eyelid infection causes a soapy material to enter the eye surface. Anyone who has ever gotten soap in their eyes knows how saponified lid secretions feels.
Healthy Meibomian gland secretion is crucial to maintenance of a healthy and functional tear film
We have a variety of ways to treat eyelid disease ranging from simple lid hygiene and ingestion of flaxseed oil to much more complex treatments which convert the pasty material in glands to liquid and are expressed. These options will be discussed with you once we have taken pictures of the lid glands, with a test similar to an MRI.
Experts don’t know the precise cause of blepharitis. It may accompany other conditions, such as rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness in the face and often affects the eyes. Seborrheic dermatitis (a skin condition that causes redness and skin patches), lice, and eyelash mites may also contribute to blepharitis. The condition may stem from allergies or a bacterial or parasitic infection, or it may trace back to irregularities of the oil glands in your eyelids.
Blepharitis may be associated with other eye conditions as well such as seborrheic dermatitis and and acne rosacea. Infections may cause a stye or chalazion to form in the glandular structures within the eyelid because of the excess secretions and skin shedding associated with blepharitis. Untreated or chronic blepharitis may also cause scarring and permanent plugging and inactivity of the lid glands
Regardless of the type of blepharitis you have, it is a chronic condition, and even with aggressive in-office treatment, daily home care is still required.
LipiFlow® is an invaluable treatment for MGD that utilizes heat and gentle pulsatile pressure to unblock obstructed Meibomian glands. You can learn more about how to treat Lid Disease form TearLab. Please click on this this link to learn more.