Blepharitis literally translates from Latin as “inflammation of the eyelids”. It is a very common, chronic condition that affects at least 50 percent of our patients at some point in their life. Blepharitis is a very common cause of itchy, red, and irritated eyelids. It is also one of the more common causes of Dry Eye Disease. Here we will address some of the questions that patients at New York Laser Vision frequently ask.
What is blepharitis?
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. There are different types of blepharitis. The most common types are:
- Inflammation of special tear glands (meimobian glands) in the eyelids
- Blepharitis related to Staphylococcal bacterial infection in the eyelids
- Infestation of eyelids with mites (Demodex)
- Rosacea blepharitis (related to rosacea of the face)
- Seborrheic blepharitis (related to dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows)
- Allergic blepharitis
What do people with Blepharitis feel?
- Redness of eyelids and, eventually, of the eyes
- Itchy, sore, irritated eyelids and eyes
- Discharge or crusting in the mornings
- Dryness and irritation of eyes
- Loss of lashes
- Frequent styes or bumps on the eyelids
Is Blepharitis an infection?
Some types of Blepharitis are caused by either infection due to an excessively high number of Staphylococcal bacteria on the eyelids or an infestation with Demodex mites. Staphylococcus may be normally present on our skin, however, in some cases, it tends to overgrow excessively and cause problems. Demodex mites are tiny mites that live on our skin and (in small amounts) normally don’t cause any problems. However, when they start overgrowing on the eyelids, they may cause severe inflammation (Demodex blepharitis).
Is Blepharitis contagious?
Whey eyelid inflammation is caused by infection with Staphylococcus bacteria or infestation by Demodex mites it may be contagious. It is transmitted by close contact or sharing eye makeup.
What causes Blepharitis?
We still don’t know the exact reason why some people are susceptible to blepharitis, but it might be associated with the following:
- Certain skin conditions: Rosacea and Eczema
- Oily skin (both Demodex mites and Staphylococcal bacteria are more likely to grow and thrive)
- Age (more common in older patients)
- Medical conditions, such as Diabetes (possibly because of decline in immune defenses)
- Poor hygiene (not paying attention to washing of eyelids etc., see more below)
- Poorly functioning immune system: Stress, Medical Problems, HIV
- Pollution. This is still under investigation, but there might be a relationship between pollution and blepharitis
Can Blepharitis cause problems with my vision?
Blepharitis will not cause permanent vision decline, but it may cause fluctuating (changing) vision. Blepharitis is a common cause of Dry Eye Syndrome. Patients with Dry Eye tend to feel that their vision changes throughout the day. They may feel that things are not as clear as they should be when using computer, reading, or watching TV for a while. Blinking or resting may improve the vision, but only for a short time, as the problem eventually recurs.
How is Blepharitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis should be made at you Eye Doctor’s office. Our competent specialists at New York Laser Vision will be able to identify the cause of your inflamed eyelids by studying your eyelids under the microscope, taking a culture if bacterial infection is suspected, obtaining a high-tech image of your eyelids, or doing a quick and painless test called Tear Lab (to analyze the composition of your tears).
What are my Blepharitis treatment options?
- Home remedies
Blepharitis is a chronic condition. We will be able help you get it under control, but not cure it, as it is a persistent disease. For this reason, learning how to take care of your eyelids is very important in order to help our doctors improve your condition faster and to prevent is from coming back again. Here, at New York Laser Vision, we have a highly knowledgeable patient education consultant, who can sit down with you and go over the at-home treatments, over-the-counter products that may help, proper application of prescription medications, and other treatment options.
- Prescription medications
In certain cases, such as with Blepharitis caused by infection or infestation or allergies, medical treatment is needed to improve your condition and prevent it from causing other eye and vision problems. Those may include both drops, ointments, and oral pills. We reserve the oral treatment for those who don’t respond to other methods or in cases when other body parts (frequently the face) are also affected (in case of resistant rosacea, for example).
- In-Office Treatment
At New York Laser Vision Brooklyn Dry Eye and Blepharitis center we offer the latest in treatment of these common conditions. One such treatment is IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). The treatment is reserved for patients who are unable or unwilling to use drops and ointments frequently (or for prolonged periods of time as is sometimes required), or for those who don’t respond to usual medical treatment. The treatment is safe, painless, and effective. An increased number Brooklyn blepharitis patients who do not feel better from common treatments are coming to New York Laser Vision specifically for IPL Dry Eye/Blepharitis treatment. We have seen a great response rate to this brand-new, innovative treatment, and more and more of our blepharitis patients are able to finally be free from constant drop and ointment use! While the procedure is not covered by any insurance plans, it’s affordable and, to make it even more so, we offer interest-free financing.
Please Call (718) 676-6464 to get more information or to schedule a consultation with one of blepharitis specialists at New York Laser Vision.