Blepharitis - Signs and Symptoms

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What are the symptoms and signs of blepharitis?

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis are usually present in both eyes, affecting the upper and lower lids. They can appear at any age. Symptoms (what one feels in the eyes or eyelids) include

  • itchy or irritated eyelids,
  • mild tearing,
  • dryness of the eyes,
  • burning sensation,
  • gritty or sandy sensation,
  • foreign-body sensation (the feeling that something may be in the eye),
  • crusting of the eyelids,
  • decreased comfort while wearing contact lenses, and
  • sensitivity to light.

Signs (observations that one makes) of blepharitis include

  • red eyelid margins,
  • swollen eyelids,
  • increased shedding of skin cells near the eyelids, causing flaking of the skin around the eyes,
  • matting of the lashes or eyes "glued together" in the morning,
  • eyelids that appear greasy and crusted with scales that cling to the lashes,
  • crusted eyelashes upon awakening,
  • tears that are frothy or bubbly in nature,
  • eyelashes that grow abnormally,
  • loss of eyelashes,
  • mild scarring of the eyelid margins,
  • mild ulceration of the lid margins,
  • dry and flaky patches of skin on the lid, and
  • dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows.

The symptoms and signs of blepharitis are often erroneously ascribed by the patient as being due to "recurrent conjunctivitis." They are also often mistakenly attributed to "dry eye" by patients due to the gritty sensation that may occur. Lubricating drops, however, do little to improve the condition.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Sasha, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 14

I've done everything the doctor has prescribed, hot face cloths, massaging eyelids, 2000 mill of Omega 3s and 100 mg of doxycycline daily. I've now developed scar tissue and my eye lids are swollen and painful. My doctor told me that I need surgery where he would open the glands. This is not covered by insurance because it is considered experimental at this point. I saw him just a few days ago and in that time the swelling has increased. I don't see how there is a choice at this point.

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Comment from: Shark, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I noticed changes in my skin first after my dog jumped up and his paw scratched my face just below my left eye. The wound took a very long time to clear up with a lot of scarring and crusting. Eventually this seemed to heal but was replaced by pimples on the outer perimeter of my nose, in the middle of my forehead, on the tip of my nose and on my right cheek. Shortly after I developed scratchy eyes and a full blown swollen lids and very red watery eye. I teach 5 year olds so people tended to tell me I had pink eye. This began in February and it is now May and my doctor just told me that I have blepharitis. But I think it all began with the scratch from my dog!

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