Blepharitis

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Blepharitis Cause

Makeup Allergy

The rash produced by such a reaction often appears as a scaling, itchy red area, an eczematous dermatitis, usually confined to the area where the cosmetic was applied. It is often very difficult to distinguish on the basis of appearance whether the reaction is allergic or irritant. Sometimes there may be a stinging sensation soon after the offending cosmetic is applied, or the reaction can be delayed for a day or two.

Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections

Common Eye Problems and Infections

Blepharitis facts

  • Blepharitis is the term for inflammation of the eyelids.
  • Signs and symptoms of blepharitis include red, irritated, itchy eyelids, along with the formation of dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes and the eyelids.
  • The cause of most cases of blepharitis is a malfunction of the oil glands of the lids, although allergies, infections, and systemic diseases can also cause blepharitis.
  • In many cases, good eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine can control blepharitis. In other instances, medications may be required.

What is blepharitis?

Picture of blepharitis

Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelids. The word "blepharitis" is derived from the Greek word blepharos, which means "eyelid," and the Greek suffix itis, which is typically used in English to denote an inflammation. Inflammation is the process by which white blood cells and the body's chemicals react to and protect us from foreign substances, injury, or infection. Signs of inflammation are swelling, redness, pain, warmth, and often change in function.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids, causing red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder with a wide variety of causes. It affects people of all ages. Although it may be uncomfortable, annoying, or unattractive, blepharitis is not contagious and does not cause permanent damage to eyesight. The condition can be difficult to manage and it tends to recur. Another term for blepharitis is granulated eyelids. Angular blepharitis describes inflammation that primarily affects the outer corners of the eyelids. Most patients with blepharitis have it in both eyes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2016

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