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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Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections

Common Eye Problems and Infections

What types of doctors treat blepharitis?

If you develop blepharitis, you should be examined promptly by a professional trained in the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease. These include ophthalmologists and optometrists.

What is the treatment for blepharitis? Are there home remedies for blepharitis?

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, 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 the eyes.

Limit or stop using eye makeup, as its use will make lid hygiene more difficult. If one wears contact lenses, temporarily discontinuing wearing them during treatment may be advised. 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 orally. 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 5/5/2016

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