Having dry, irritated eyes can be uncomfortable enough but it is no surprise that dry e eyes are often accompanied by another common eye condition known as blepharitis.
Blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelids often caused by clogged oil glands leading to irritation, redness, and burning eyes. Other causes of blepharitis can include excess bacteria, allergies, hormonal imbalance, eyelash mites, viral infection, and certain skin conditions such as eczema or seborrheic dermatitis.
Common symptoms of blepharitis include dry eye, crusting on lashes or lash lines, swollen eyelids, tearing, itchiness, feeling as though a foreign body is in the eye, and blurred vision.
Dry eye, also known as ocular surface disease, is a common condition that occurs when your eyes do not produce enough lubrication. Fatty oils, water, and mucus create a complex mixture that helps to maintain a healthy surface for your eyes to provide you with clear vision.
The cause of dry eyes can be varied. Tear production may decrease as a result of the natural aging process, hormonal changes, environmental conditions, inflammation, medication, and other medical conditions.
Common symptoms of dry eye may include stinging or burning sensation in the eyes, blurred vision, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, redness, mucus around the eyes, difficulty with contacts, and of course dry eyes.
The Connection Between Dry Eye and Blepharitis
Blocked tear and oil glands can lead to dry eyes and a buildup of bacteria raising your risk of blepharitis, which can lead to more irritation and worsen your symptoms of dry eyes creating a vicious cycle. Left untreated, long-term blepharitis can lead to keratitis, conjunctivitis, and other harmful eye conditions.
To get an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will conduct a thorough examination and listen to your description of symptoms. After reviewing your medical history, your optometrist will also check your eyes, lashes, tear quality, and take a sample from your eyelids to check for bacteria.
How We Can Help
Blepharitis can be managed by taking care of your eyelids.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and other medications to fight any infection. If needed, your doctor may also recommend eyelid scrubs or solutions to help cleanse your eyelid and lash line. Eye drops or artificial tears can also be used to alleviate dry eye symptoms. At home, you can apply a warm compress to the eyes for at least a minute to reduce clogging in oil glands and remove crusting flakes or debris.
If your dry eyes or blepharitis are caused by an underlying condition then treatment will be focused on alleviating that condition first.
For more information on blepharitis and dry eye or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.