By Keith Biggs, O.D.
Do you suffer from dry, watery, red, itchy eyes? Blepharitis could be the underlying root of it all. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from chronic blepharitis. This condition causes irritation and inflammation of the eyelid margin, where eyelashes join the eyelid. If not treated, this condition can worsen and may lead to further problems, including styes and decreased vision. Blepharitis is quite difficult to manage because it tends to reoccur.
Blepharitis occurs in two forms: anterior and posterior. The anterior form affects the outside front of the eyelid, where the eyelashes are attached. The two most common causes of anterior blepharitis are bacteria (staphylococcus) and scalp dandruff. Posterior blepharitis affects the inner eyelid (the portion of the lid that makes contact with the eye) and is caused by problems with the oil (Meibomian) glands. These glands help to release oil onto the front surface of the eye to aid in a normal tear film layer. If this chemistry is disrupted, dry, watery, or redness can ensue. Posterior blepharitis can develop as a result of a skin condition, such as acne rosacea, which leads to red and inflamed skin, or scalp dandruff.
The way that I explain it to my patients is that there is a normal number of bacteria that live on everyone’s skin surface; but in certain individuals, they tend to overpopulate and inflame the lids and lashes, resulting in clogged oil glands, dry eye disease, and chronic redness.
Treatment of blepharitis revolves around hygiene of the area. In most individuals, the bacteria are overpopulating and it is our job, to get this under control and develop a maintenance program to keep the bacteria in check. Depending on the severity of your blepharitis, we may recommend simple sprays to help kill the bacteria, or may perform other procedures in office.
BlephEx is a new procedure to Summit Eye Care. This can help speed the process along and get the bacteria at bay. Performing BlephEx requires no medications and is a simple in-office procedure to help reduce the bacterial load, allowing for relief of your symptoms in a quick and efficient manner.
Summit Eye Care is taking the next step in 2018 to focus on dry eye disease and some of its associated conditions, such as blepharitis. We understand that dry eye is an epidemic and must be treated in order to prevent further damage in the future. Get control of your eyes, so that you can get control of your life.
This is the first in a series of articles which will be dealing with dry eye disease. Summit Eye Care understands that dry eye is an epidemic and must be treated in order to prevent further damage in the future. Get control of your eyes, so that you can get control of your life. Stay tuned for more in the coming months!