What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyes. It usually affects the margins of the eyelids.

It is not sight threatening, usually not serious but may become an uncomfortable and irritating problem. Both eyes are usually affected.

What causes Blepharitis?

There are different recognized types of blepharitis that include:

Staphylococcal infection Seborrhoeic and Meibomian gland dysfunction. These often occur together. It is also associated with Dry Eye Syndrome and Rosacea.

How is it treated?

  • There is no one-off cure.
  • The symptoms tend to recur if you do not keep up with treatment.
  • The main treatment is regular eyelid hygiene.
  • You might need additional treatments that include antibiotics (prescribed for up to 3 months), steroid creams, eye lubricants and specific medication for any associated conditions.
  • Perseverance and practice are important, as it will take a few weeks before the effects of treatment are noticed.

Eyelid hygiene routine

The aim is to soothe the eyelids, unplug any blocked glands and clean away any debris.

This routine consists of 3 parts:

  1. Warmth, which will make the oils in the glands more runny and soften the crust around the eyelashes
  2. Massage, which helps push the oily secretions out of the glands
  3. Cleaning, which will remove the crusts from the eyelid edges.

This routine should be followed at least once a day, every day until symptoms settle.
Continue the routine once daily to prevent flare ups.

How to do the hygiene routine:

1. Warmth – Press a flannel soaked in very warm water gently onto your eyelids for about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep re-warming the flannel when it cools down.
There are reusable heat bags specially designed for use on eyes. They retain the warmth for longer and are available at chemists and opticians.

2. Massage – Close your eyes. Massage your eyelids immediately after applying the warm flannels. Use your index or middle finger and sweep the fingertip from the inner corner of the eye along the eyelid towards the outer part of your eye.

Do the upper and lower lids separately. Repeat this sweeping massage 5 to 10 times. The massage should be firm but not hurt your eyeballs.

3. Cleaning – Use cotton wool pads or specially designed eye flannels soaked in cooled boiled water. Don’t use tipped cotton buds. Cleanse the edge of your eyelids and remove any crusts from the base of the eyelashes.

You can add baby shampoo to the water. Add a few drops to a small cup of cooled boiled water, clean eyelids and wash the shampoo off.

You can also use sodium bicarbonate. Dilute a teaspoonful in a cup of cooled boiled water. If antibiotic cream has been prescribed, apply this next.

Castle Quay Medical Centre, Harbour Reach,
Rue De L’Etau, St Helier,
Jersey JE2 3EH

01534 745510

Spiteri Eyecare