Bacteria and organisms called Demodex (mites) reside on the surface of everyone’s skin at the base of the eyelashes. The resulting irritation, sometimes associated with over-activity of the nearby oil glands, causes dandruff-like scales and particles to form along the lashes and eyelid margins. Sometimes the scaling or bacteria produce only minor irritation and itching, but in some they may cause redness, stinging, or burning. Some people may develop a sensitivity or allergic reaction to the scales and bacteria which surround them. This can lead to more serious complications, including an inflammation of the eye tissues, particularly the cornea. Poor cleaning of the eyelids allows bacteria to reside on the lids and lashes, which in turn can cause blepharitis as well.
Blepharitis is usually not serious and can be treated easily. In certain cases, it may not be cured, but it can be controlled with a few simple daily measures. If left untreated, it can be very uncomfortable, unattractive, and lead to more serious problems.
To treat blepharitis, daily lid hygiene is required, which can include lid scrubs with tea tree oil formulated for use on the eyes, warm compresses, and other various measures. It is important to keep the lid edges and surrounding skin clean with these techniques. For more serious cases, ointments containing antibiotics and/or steroids may be prescribed.
While over-the-counter treatments for blepharitis are available, it is advisable to consult with Dr. Velasco the first time you experience this condition. Blepharitis if untreated, can become infectious, you should call Dr. Velasco as soon as possible to reduce the risk of having the infection spread and cause more serious conditions.