Blepharitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    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.

Medically Reviewed on 9/29/2017

Blepharitis is the medical term for eyelid inflammation. It causes signs and symptoms that include

  • red, irritated, itchy eyelids, and
  • the formation of dandruff-like scales on the eyelashes and the eyelids.

Most cases of blepharitis are not contagious, and it does not cause permanent vision damage. However, it can be difficult to manage and may recur after treatment. When present, it usually affects both eyes. There are different types of blepharitis related to the underlying cause of the condition. It is often seen in people with acne of the face.

Causes of blepharitis

Most cases of blepharitis are due to a malfunction of the oil glands of the eyelids. Other causes include allergies to mascara, contact lens solutions, sprays, animals, environmental chemicals, or airborne allergens. Less commonly, inflammation of the eyelids can be caused by an infection by bacteria such as staphylococci or infestation of the lashes by tiny mites (Demodex) or head lice.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/29/2017

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