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Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that causes red, irritated, itchy eyelids and the formation of dandruff-like scales on eyelashes. It is a common eye disorder caused by either bacteria or a skin condition such as dandruff of the scalp or acne rosacea. It can affect people of all ages. Although it causes some discomfort, blepharitis is not contagious and generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight.

Treatment depends on the specific type of blepharitis. The key to treating most types of blepharitis is keeping the lids clean and free of crusts. It is often recommended to limit or cease the use of eye makeup during treatment.

Warm compresses can be applied to loosen crusts, followed by gentle scrubbing of the eyes with a mixture of water and baby shampoo or an over-the-counter eyelid cleanser. In cases involving bacterial infection, an antibiotic may also be prescribed. If the glands in the eyelids are blocked, the eyelids may need to be massaged to unclog them.The treatment for a stye is the same than for a chalazion.


Some cases of blepharitis may require more complex treatment plans. Blepharitis seldom disappears completely and is considered a chronic condition.

Source: American Optometric Association. On line, June 19, 2012.

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