By Dr S.S. Gill
Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about BLEPHARITIS, or inflammation of the eyelids.
Inflammation of the eyelids is called BLEPHARITIS. When the oil glands at the eyelid margins malfunction and produce too much oil (sebaceous secretions), blepharitis can occur.
At times, it may be associated with an underlying skin condition called Acne rosacea where there is already a generalised illness of the oil glands of the skin. Allergies to certain cosmetics like mascara, eyelid lotions, contact lens solutions, allergens in the air and some chemicals may also trigger blepharitis.
PREVENTION & TREATMENT
1. Eyelid Hygiene
If your practitioner has confirmed that you have blepharitis, then having good eyelid hygiene is even more important. Keep your eyelids clean and free from crusting of skin in order to reduce the risk of an infection. You may also clean your eyelids by using a small amount of baby shampoo diluted in warm water. Apply it with a cotton bud along the edge of your eyelid and rinse.
2. Warm Compress
Putting a warm moist compress by soaking a towel in hot water and then placing the warm towel over your eyelids for five to 10 minutes will often help. The water should not be scalding hot and the compress should feel comfortable on your skin. This often helps to loosen any crusting or flakes of skin. This can be done twice a day.
3. Antibiotic Ointment
Depending on the cause, your practitioner may treat you with either antibiotic eye ointment or a mild steroid eye ointment to be used sparingly (only to be prescribed by a doctor). This will need to be applied using a clean finger or a cotton bud taking care not to scratch your eye during application. If your symptoms are severe or other treatments don’t work, your practitioner may prescribe oral antibiotics.
4. Treat Associated Conditions
People with skin conditions such as rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis (like dandruff in the scalp) are more prone to blepharitis. Get these treated by a dermatologist if you suffer from them.
5. Avoid Makeup & Contact Lenses
Do not wear any eye makeup during this time as it could worsen your condition or slow down the healing process. Worse still is to pick up another eye infection such as corneal ulcer which is serious. Therefore, it is best to avoid this until full recovery.
Finally, if you are in doubt about any eyelid problems, do seek professional help. Depending on the underlying cause of your condition which at times requires a medical professional to identify, you may also need additional treatment for this.