Blepharitis is a condition where the rims of the eyelids become inflamed (red and swollen), which can result in symptoms such as:
- burning, soreness or stinging in the eyes
- crusty eyelashes
- itchy eyelids
- Blepharitis can be caused by a bacterial infection, or it can be a complication of a skin condition such as:
- seborrhoeic dermatitis, which causes an itchy rash on the skin and scalp (seborrhoeic dermatitis that affects the scalp is called dandruff)
- rosacea, which causes the face to appear red and blotchy
- It is not possible to catch Blepharitis from someone else who has it.
How common is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is responsible for an estimated 1 in 20 eye problems reported to GPs. It is more common in people over 50, although it can develop at any age.
Up to half of people whose Blepharitis is caused by staphylococcus bacteria also have dry eye syndrome (a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears or dry out too quickly).
Blepharitis is a chronic (long-term) condition, which means that once it develops it can cause repeated episodes. There is no cure for Blepharitis, but establishing a daily eye-cleaning routine can help control the symptoms. This will need to be continued indefinitely. More severe cases of Blepharitis may require antibiotics.
Blepharitis is not usually serious. The most common complication is being unable to wear contact lenses while experiencing symptoms. Serious complications, such as sight loss, are rare, particularly if the recommended advice is followed.
Download our Blepharitis booklet here.