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blepharitis imageOften times patients develop a chronic, common condition known as blepharitis. A prominent of feature of this condition is scales along the eye lashes. The scales may be related to dandruff or eczema. In others the blepharitis is related to chronic Staph infections. When present for a long time the scales cause thickening of the eyelids and clogging of the glands. The glands are important in secreting the lubricating components of the tears. Chronic or acute blepharitis results in dry, red, irritated eyes. There is no cure but blepahritis is usually easy to control. The condition is often a result of acne roscae. Treatment must be done each day.

The following may be effective:

Hot Compress Very important in the acute phase. Used two or three times a day. Best way - take a small, new potato and heat the potato in a microwave, then put the potato into a washcloth soaked with hot water, and place over the lids.

Massage Place the hot compress over the eyes while gently massaging the lids down from the top and up from the bottom. The heat melts the material that clogs the glands and the massage expresses the glands./p>

Lid Scrubsean the lids with either diluted baby shampoo (1:10) or with specially made pads that contain a mild shampoo that won't irritate the eyes. The cleaning pads may found at a pharmacy - Ocul-scrub is a goods cleaner. They do not require a prescription.

Antibiotic/Steroid OintmentIf the condition is significant we might prescribe an antibiotic/steroid combination ointment to place on the lids which will also fall into the eyes. This usually provides dramatic relief. Steroids should not be used long term unless advised and monitored by your doctor. They can lead to serious consequences (glaucoma, cataract, super infection) unless appropriately monitored.

Doxocycline or Tetracycline Pills In severe or very chronic cases oral medications may be used to control the blepharitis. They may be used to rapidly control the condition or in low doses daily to eliminate flare-ups.

What Will Happen If I Don't Treat It?

If the glands become clogged, the eyelids become red and irritated. Eventually, the quality of your tears become compromised and a dry eye ensues. If the condition becomes chronic, the lids thicken and the glands which secrete the lubrication portion of our tears stop functioning properly. The lids, conjunctiva, and the cornea may become involved. The symptoms vary from a mild red eye, to an irritated dry eye, to severe corneal involvement.

In addition the glands of the eyelid may become infected with a resultant stye (external horleolum) or clogged with hardening of material further back. This non-infectious infiltration of the gland is known as a chalazion. They often result after the presence of a stye. Treatment is the same hot compress and massage. Most chalazions will respond to hot compress and massages. Treatment may take 2-3 weeks. If hot compress and massage are either impractical or fail to resolve the problem then injection with steroids or surgical removal may be advised.

Remember, most cases of blepharitis are chronic. Thus, hot compress and lid scrubs may be a life long event.

Is There Anything Else That I Can Do to Eliminate Symptoms?

Eat right. Stay away from oily foods and other irritants in particular tea, coffee,, wine, cheese, and nuts.