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What is the Best Treatment for Blepharitis?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Blepharitis, which causes eyelid inflammation, can be treated with improved eyelid hygiene. This treatment for blepharitis often works best when continued for life, as this is typically a chronic condition that cannot simply be cured. Using eyelid scrubs or gentle shampoo to clean the area a few times a day is often recommended, though this treatment is usually best when combined with the use of a warm compress and the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the diet. Eyelid massage is another commonly used treatment for blepharitis, as this can help unclog the glands, though topical medicine may also be suggested.

One type of blepharitis is anterior, in which only the area where the eyelashes attach to the lid are infected, while posterior blepharitis is caused by clogged meibomian glands. These glands are located in the eyelid, and have the job of secreting oils that mix with the tears and help them spread across the eye. Most patients with this condition suffer from both forms of blepharitis, and both can usually be best treated with improved eye hygiene so that infection and clogged glands are unlikely.

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The first step of good eye hygiene is to place a warm compress over the eyes, as this can loosen any crust or debris that is stuck in the eyelashes or the glands. A massage of the eyelids can do the same, and this treatment for blepharitis should be done gently and with clean hands. There are products that are meant specifically for cleaning the eyelids, which an eye doctor may recommend, but eyelid cleanser can also be made at home. For example, baby shampoo can be mixed with warm water and applied to a cotton swab, which can then be rubbed along the eyelid. It is important to note using this treatment for blepharitis that a different swab should be used for each eye to avoid spreading bacteria or debris from one eye to the other.

Some doctors recommend that those suffering from blepharitis take supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids, as they tend to help the meibomian glands work properly. In addition to this type of treatment for blepharitis, topical medication may be recommended, such as antibiotics to keep infection at bay. Since many cases of blepharitis also cause dry eye, some patients might need punctal plugs or lubricating eye drops in order to increase eye comfort. Additionally, eye makeup and soft contacts may need to be changed more often or discontinued altogether since they often contribute to clogged glands.

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