What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis occurs when the edge of your eyelids become inflamed. It is usually caused by an infection or a skin condition. There are two main types of blepharitis:
  • anterior blepharitis – where the inflammation affects the skin around the base of your eyelashes
  • posterior blepharitis – where the inflammation affects your Meibomian glands (found on the inside edge of your eyelids)
Some people experience both types of blepharitis, as the causes are often linked. Anterior blepharitis can be caused by either a bacterial infection or a skin condition called seborrhoeic dermatitis. Staphylococcus bacteria are most commonly associated with blepharitis. These bacteria live harmlessly on the skin of many people but, for unknown reasons, they can cause the eyelids of some people to become inflamed. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes skin to become oily or flaky, and it can sometimes irritate the eyelids. Seborrhoeic dermatitis often causes both anterior and posterior blepharitis at the same time. Posterior blepharitis occurs due to a problem with the Meibomian glands, which are found on the inside edge of your eyelids. The Meibomian glands are responsible for producing an oily substance that makes up part of your tears. A problem in these glands can lead to excess production of this oily substance or a blockage in the glands, which can cause the eyelids to become irritated and inflamed. R.D. McFarlane and Nicol’s Opticians have a range of treatments to help manage blepharitis. Please make an appointment and your optician can discuss them with you.