Blepharitis Causes and Treatments
What is Blepharitis ?
Blepharitis is a very common condition of the eyelid margin that affects woman more than men and elderly people a more than younger people. Young adults and even children can be effected. It is said to be a chronic condition that can often be control but it is rarely eliminated.
It begins for most people with irritation in the eyes and a feeling that something may be stuck in one or both eyes. Most complained of crusting and scaling around the eyelashes that some people also get very red eyes. For more detail
What Causes Blepharitis?
There are a number things that can cause blepharitis.
Excessive fat production by the sebaceous glands in the eyelid stick to the eyelashes, and become acidic. This in turn irritates and inflames the eyelids which further interferes with the sebaceous glands.
In many cases, blepharitis is associated with seborrheic eczema, a form of eczema where the skin becomes either very greasy or dry and flaky. These conditions can alternate between one form and the other.
Bacteria, which normally exist on the skin can become out of balance and this can also be the origin of blepharitis.
The demodex mites which are the most common microscopic ectoparasite found on the human skin tend to increase in numbers as we age and have been found to cause a number of skin diseases. Because eyes are somewhat “protected” by protruding body parts such as the nose, brow, and cheeks, the eyelid is not as accessible as the face to daily normal daily cleansing. Therefore, if a demodex infestation occurs, it is likely to spread and flourish in the eyelids leading to blepharitis.
How is Blepharitis Currently Treated?
There are mechanical methods and various topical and oral treatments
Mechanical Treatments for Blepharitis.
Self Help Methods such as hot compresses and eyelid massaging, and eyelash cleaning can be quite helpful.
There are also operations done to insert what they call punctal plugs in the ducts to help lubricate the eyes. This has been quite helpful in the past for treating dry eyes but it has also been suggested that punctal plugs may actually worsen dry eyes and blepharitis by trapping cytokines, chemokines, metalloproteinases and T cells on the ocular surface with ultimate worsening of symptoms.
BlephEx is a machine used by eye doctors to periodically clean the eyelashes somewhat like the annual teeth cleaning that the dentist offers. One local ophthalmologist who was initially quite keen recently ceased providing this treatment but did not state why.
Topical and/or Oral Treatments for Blepharitis
Eye-drops: There are four main types of eye drops: Lubricants, Steroids, Cyclosporine and Antibiotics
Lubricants: There are a number of excellent eye lubricants available depending upon where you are in the world.
Systane from Alcon, a division of Novartis is my personal favourite and is available pretty much all over the world. While lubricants do not do anything to address the core problems causing blepharitis they certainly help alleviate the extreme discomfort, and are an excellent aid while treatment is tackling the underlying cause of blepharitis.
Steroids: While steroids may be helpful in low doses and for a very short time they are also potentially very dangerous and if used for too long can cause or exacerbate a number of problems that can result in permanent eye damage and other conditions (link).
Cyclosporine: This is an immunosuppressant drug often used in organ transplant patients. Because posterior blepharitis is essentially an inflammatory disease that occurs at the orifice of the Meibomian glands on the lid margins, Cyclosporine reduces the inflammatory response and has been shown to assist other treatments for Posterior Blepharitis.
Antibiotics: Courses of antibiotic eye drops and/or ointment are still prescribed for Posterior Blepharitis but according to recent studies long-term oral tetracycline, minocycline, or doxycycline is more effective than topical antibiotics.
My personal opinion on current treatments
I have read and researched just about everything available on blepharitis and the overall medical opinion is that there is no cure for blepharitis but various treatments can reduce the symptoms.
While all or any of the above may be helpful in minimizing blepharitis for different individuals, if it is possible to eliminate the symptoms of blepharitis without putting unnatural and potentially harmful chemicals into your body on a long term basis, surely that is a much wiser healthier thing to do.
Alternative / Additional Therapies
Taking omega-3-fish oil supplements regularly and eating oily fish such as salmon and sardines helps to reduce eyelid inflammation, and flax-seed oil supplements have been shown to make Meibomian secretions less thick and improve the tear film. (Macsai M, Trans Am Ophth Soc 2008).
Getting sufficient sleep is also important in reducing eye irritation.
Last but not least; Give my BlephroClear cream a try.
The results for Anterior Blepharitis have been spectacular and they have also been very good for Posterior Blepharitis. BlephroClear wash is definitely helping reduce the symptoms even in bad cases but in these instances progress is understandably a little slower.
However, I am currently working on a serum that can be applied several times a day and remain on. My aim is to help as many people so after you have used BlephroClear for a month or so I would really appreciate your feedback and comments.