Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids which causes them to become swollen , red and oily. Apart from being unsightly, this condition can also make sufferers feel uncomfortable. Even so, blepharitis is generally not contagious .

Blepharitis usually occurs when the oil glands near the roots of the eyelashes become blocked. This blockage is one of the causes of inflammation in the eyelids .

Blepharitis is not a serious condition. However, blepharitis can lead to other eye disorders, such as dry eye , sty, and conjunctivitis , especially if left untreated.

Types and Causes of Blepharitis

Blepharitis is divided into two types, namely anterior and posterior blepharitis. Each of these types of blepharitis has a different cause. Here is the explanation:

Anterior blepharitis

Anterior blepharitis is inflammation of the skin of the outer eyelid. Anterior blepharitis is generally triggered by:

  • Staphylococcus bacterial infection
  • Allergic reactions to eye cosmetic products
  • Dandruff from the scalp or eyebrows that fall to the eyelids
  • Lice infection in eyelashes

Posterior blepharitis

In posterior blepharitis, inflammation occurs in the inner eyelid which is in direct contact with the eyeball. Posterior blepharitis can result from:

  • Blockage of the oil glands located on the inside of the eyelids (meibomian glands)
  • Rosacea
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Blepharitis Symptoms

Blepharitis generally occurs in both eyes. However, blepharitis can also occur in one eye, although this is rare.

Complaints that arise due to blepharitis generally worsen in the morning. Some of the signs and symptoms of blepharitis are:

  • Swelling and redness in the eyelids
  • Itchy eyelids
  • Red eye
  • The eyelashes and the edges of the eyelids are full of eye discharge
  • Eyelids become sticky
  • Eyelids feel oily
  • Eyes may appear watery or may even appear dry
  • Eyes feel gritty
  • Burning or stinging sensation in the eye
  • Exfoliation of the skin around the eyes
  • Eyelashes fall out
  • Often winks
  • Blurred vision
  • Eyes become sensitive to light

When to see a doctor

If you experience symptoms of blepharitis, such as swollen, sticky, and greasy eyelids, you can try to treat them by using warm compresses and cleaning your eyes. However, if the symptoms do not improve, immediately consult a doctor .

Diagnosis of Blepharitis

The diagnosis of blepharitis can be made by a general practitioner or an ophthalmologist. The first thing the doctor does is ask questions about the symptoms experienced, medical history, and the patient's overall health condition.

After that, the doctor will examine the patient's eyelids, both the front and back of the eyelids. The doctor will also do an eye examination with a special tool that resembles a magnifying glass.

To determine the cause of blepharitis or other possible eye diseases, the doctor will take a sample of dry skin or oil on the eyelid. The sample will be analyzed for fungal or bacterial infections, as well as possible allergies .

Blepharitis Treatment

The initial treatment for blepharitis can be done at home. Patients with blepharitis can compress the eye with a warm wet compress for at least 1 minute. This method aims to soften the crust of eye dirt and prevent oil deposits on the eyelids.

Patients can also clean the eyelids using baby shampoo and warm water. While cleaning, gently massage the eyelids with your fingers or a soft cloth. This is useful for removing eye discharge and reducing swelling.

It is important to remember, use a different clean cloth to clean each eye.

If the above self-care does not relieve the symptoms of blepharitis, the doctor will prescribe medications, including:


In blepharitis that is not caused by an infection, the doctor will prescribe corticosteroid eye drops or ointment to reduce inflammation. Artificial tears may also be prescribed to relieve irritation caused by dry eyes.


For blepharitis triggered by a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics given can be in the form of a drink, ointment , or eye drops, depending on the severity of the patient's condition.

If blepharitis occurs due to other eye diseases, such as rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, then these diseases must be treated first so that blepharitis can improve. While blepharitis caused by dandruff on the head, treatment can be done by giving anti-dandruff shampoo.

Complications of Blepharitis

Blepharitis that is not treated properly has the risk of causing the following complications:

  • Abnormal eyelash growth
  • Eyelash loss
  • Eyelashes can't grow anymore
  • Painful stye or lump on the eyelid due to infection
  • Watery eyes or dry eyes
  • Edges of the eyelids that fold inward ( entropion ) or outward (ectropion)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Chalazion or stye-like lump that appears on the inside of the eyelid.
  • Corneal abrasion or corneal ulcer

Prevention of Blepharitis

Blepharitis can last a long time, relapse frequently, and is difficult to treat. To reduce the risk of blepharitis, do the following:

  • Wash your face regularly and always clean your eyes after using eye makeup.
  • Always keep your hands clean to avoid bacterial infections and don't scratch your eyes with dirty hands.
  • Immediately consult a doctor if the eyes are red, swollen, or painful.
  • Check with a doctor if you have severe dandruff conditions to prevent irritation of the eyelashes due to dandruff.
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