Blepharitis & Meibomitis

 

Blepharitis and Meibomitis are conditions that often are present at the same time.  Sometimes, these two conditions are grouped together and referred to as Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammatory disorder of the eyelid margins, the eyelashes, and the skin lining the inside of the eyelids

 Meibomitis

 

There is a row of oil glands on the lid margin of both the upper and lower eyelids.  These glands produce oil that coats the surface of the tears.  Meibomitis or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction is a blockage or some other abnormality of the Meibomian Glands resulting in not enough oil being secreted onto the tears.   This oil slows the rate at which tears evaporate.  

 What are the symptoms of Blepharitis and Meibomitis?

Symptoms that may occur with Blepharitis and Meibomitis:

  • Itching of the eyes or eyelids

  • Burnng of the eyes or eyelids

  • Eye redness

  • Foreign body sensation (eg. feeling like there is sand in the eyes)

  • Redness and or swelling of the eyelid margins

How are Blepharitis and Meibomitis treated?

This is a long term problem that cannot be totally eradicated, but may be controlled with treatment.  Your Doctor may recommend any or all of the following therapies:  

Lid Hygiene

Meibomian gland oil that adheres to the lid margins will cause excess bacterial growth on the lid margin leading to inflammation and eye irritation.   Commercial eyelid cleansing products are available and these may be used to remove oil residue on the lid margins.  These products are more effective in cleaning the lid margins and more gentle than baby shampoo.

 

Products used to remove eye make-up are often very similar to lid scrubs and may be used as well.  

 

An instructional video on lid hygiene and how to perform lid scrubs can be viewed at the following link: 

Warm Compresses

Warm compresses are helpful in the treatment of Blepharitis and Meibomitis.  If warm compresses and lid scrubs have been recommended by your Doctor, it is recommended that the compresses be performed first.  Compresses can eliminate blockages in Meibomian Glands by liquifying the oil in the glands make it easier for it to be expressed.

 

In Blepharitis, crusting at the base of the lashes can be loosened by compresses making lid scrubs more effective at removing these crusts.

 

Compresses may be performed using a clean face towel warmed by running it under hot water and then applying over closed eyes.  Another method is to use a heated gel mask.  Masks often retain heat longer than a towel and are therefore more effective.  

Emollient Tears

Blepharitis and Meibomitis often results in rapid tear evaporation causing ocular burning and foreign body sensation.  Artificial tears, especially emollient (oil-based) tears can help alleviate these symptoms.  Emollient tears help reform the deficient oil layer of the tears making the tear film more stable.

Examples of emollient tears are Refresh Optive Advanced, Systane Balance, and Soothe XP.

Antibiotic & Corticosteroids

Prescription drops or ointments may be prescribed to treat excess bacterial of the eyelids.  These prescriptions may be an antibiotic alone or be a combination antibiotic/steroid preparation.  

For severe cases of Meibomitis and Blepharitis, low dose oral antibiotics may be recommended by your Doctor.