Blepharitis (cont.)

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What is the treatment for blepharitis?

In many cases, good eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine can control blepharitis. This includes frequent scalp and face washing, using warm compresses to soak the eyelids, and doing eyelid scrubs.

The single most important treatment principle is a daily routine of lid margin hygiene. The following is a typical lid margin hygiene routine:

  • Soften lid margin debris and oils: Apply a warm wet compress to the lids, such as a washcloth with hot water, for five to 10 minutes two to four times a day. To keep the compresses warm for a longer period of time, you may place a small hot water bottle over the compress. Using a clean washcloth for each cleansing is important.
  • Mechanically remove lid margin debris: After using the compresses, clean the eyelids with a cotton applicator stick soaked in a 4 to 1 mixture of water and baby shampoo or an over-the-counter lid-cleansing product. Gently and repeatedly rub along the lid margins while the eyes are closed. Be careful to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes.

Limit or stop using eye makeup, as its use will make lid hygiene more difficult.

If you wear contact lenses, you may have to temporarily discontinue wearing them during treatment.

Other treatment depends on the specific type of blepharitis. The key to treating most types of blepharitis is keeping the lids clean and free of crusts.

Dandruff shampoo is a standard recommendation.

Antibiotics such as doxycycline, tetracycline, azithromycin or erythromycin may be prescribed topically or systemically.

If the blepharitis is due to allergy, efforts should be made to identify and reduce exposure to the offending agent. Prescription, over-the-counter drops, or oral antihistamines may be used. If it is caused by an allergy at home or at work, simply avoiding the allergen (for example, a dog or cat) may avoid future problems.

Oral omega-3 fatty acids, pulsating thermal lid massage, and intense pulsed light treatment to the meibomian glands have also been effective in chronic or severe cases.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/23/2015

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