If your eyelids are sore and inflamed, you probably have blepharitis. This eye condition can affect people of any age and is defined as chronic or acute. The most common form of the condition affects adults and is chronic. Therefore, blepharitis normally refers to a chronic form of inflammation of the eyelid.
A Non-curable Condition
Blepharitis, which affects the base of the eyelashes, is not caused by poor hygiene habits, nor is the underlying cause readily understood. If you have the condition, you will notice a stickiness and redness around the eyelashes. Whilst the condition can be treated, it cannot be cured.
Therefore, if you want to know what causes blepharitis, most doctors will not be able to give you a fast answer. The symptoms of chronic blepharitis tend to appear and subside. As a result, a patient may go into remission for some time and then suddenly experience a flare-up. When flare-ups occur, both eyes are normally affected.
Causes for the Condition
Other conditions may appear with the eye condition too, usually in the form of psoriasis, rosacea, or seborrhoeic dermatitis. As noted, doctors normally have to investigate the condition before they can come up with a cause. Therefore, they cannot give you an immediate reason for the condition. Some of the causes for the inflammation may include the following:
- An inflammatory response to bacteria on the eyelids
- Parasites or eyelash mites
- An infection resulting from the herpes simplex virus (HSV)
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis
If you have dandruff, you may develop blepharitis too. If you address your dandruff problem, you can also keep blepharitis under control. Another possible reason for developing blepharitis is a dysfunction of the glands along the eyelid rims. The Meibomian glands manufacture an oily substance that prevents ocular tears from evaporating. However, some eye doctors believe that blepharitis precedes the dysfunctioning of the glands rather than the other way around.
Anterior and Posterior Blepharitis
Blepharitis can be termed as anterior or posterior. In anterior blepharitis, the front edge of the eyelid, where the eyelashes join the lid, is affected. In posterior blepharitis, the inner edge of the eyelid is affected where the lid meets the eyeball.
The major symptoms of blepharitis include the following:
- Itchy eyelids
- Red eyes
- Watery or irritated eyes
- Crusting and flaking at the base of the eyelids–similar to what is seen when someone has dandruff
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Photophobia, or light sensitivity
- A feeling that something is in the eyes, like a gritty sensation
The above symptoms are more pronounced upon awakening. Whilst blepharitis does not threaten the vision, it can impair your sight when flare-ups occur. If you have the condition, you should work with a vision specialist to learn more about treating the problem and obtain further details on the types and causes.