Blepharitis: What is It and What Causes It?

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Want to know why your eyelids hurt? Does redness, itching, or irritation around the eyes hinder you? It might be blepharitis – inflammation of the eyelids. In this blog, we will learn about the causes, effective home remedies, and advanced treatments for blepharitis. 

What is Blepharitis? 

Blepharitis is a condition in which the eyelids become inflamed. It usually affects both the eyes and lies along the edges of each eye’s upper lid and lower lash line. This inflammation arises from the clogging of tiny oil glands found at the base of eyelashes, which then become irritated and red.

Although it is distressing and unattractive, fortunately, blepharitis isn’t contagious and will rarely affect sight to a severe degree.

Common Blepharitis Causes

Blepharitis is a complex condition that can have many different underlying causes. Some of the key contributors include:

  • Bacterial Overgrowth: Blepharitis is frequently caused by too much bacteria on the eyelids, particularly at the base of the eyelashes. The body’s natural bacterial flora is normal but an excessive number can cause inflammation and discomfort.
  • Clogged or Irritated Oil Glands: Another significant contributor to blepharitis is the clogging of meibomian glands, which produce oily layers of tears.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: This skin condition (characterized by dandruff on the scalp and eyebrows) is related to blepharitis. Seborrheic dermatitis can intensify inflammation around the eyelids.
  • Infection: Bacterial infections, especially Staphylococcus Aureus, are causes of the onset of blepharitis. The infection can result in redness, swelling, and pain.
  • Rosacea: Blepharitis is related to rosacea, which causes facial redness. The inflammation associated with rosacea can spread to the eyelids, presenting symptoms of blepharitis.

Blepharitis Treatment

Since there are various possible causes of blepharitis, its management often requires a combination of medical and home treatments. Home care is of primary importance but a healthcare professional may recommend medical interventions to treat the various underlying causes of blepharitis.

Home Remedies

  • Eyelid Hygiene: Proper eyelid hygiene is the cornerstone of home treatment for blepharitis. It includes using mild warm compresses and soap to clean away foreign matter, leaving the region bacteria-free thoroughly.
  • Warm Compresses: Warm compresses to the eyes open blocked Meibomian glands so that build-up oils may be discharged. Stable tear film makes for clear vision.
  • Eyelid Massage: Gently massaging the eyelids promotes drainage of accumulated oil from the Meibomian glands, which helps alleviate symptoms.
  • Artificial Tears: Those who suffer from dry eyes due to blepharitis should use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears.
  • Avoidance of Allergen: Allergens, whether in eye products or environmental elements, should be identified and avoided at all costs.

Medical Treatments

  • Electrochemical Lid Margin Debridement (BlephEx): A healthcare professional administers this process, in which mites and bacteria are extracted from the eyelids together with biofilm. It also serves to unplug clogged Meibomian glands and promote better eye health.
  • Thermal Pulsation Treatment (Lipiflow): The goal of the Lipiflow treatment is to melt any material blocking upstream Meibomian glands so that oils can flow out normally and there is no obstruction.
  • Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL): Clogged eyelid glands can be treated with IPL therapy. The light is used in short pulses to stimulate the Meibomian glands and reduce inflammation.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed in cases of bacterial infection or severe blepharitis. They may either be in the form of topical ointments or oral medications.


With an understanding of what causes blepharitis and the right treatment, those afflicted can manage their symptoms. But if you think the problem is severe and causing persistent discomfort and pain, even after using home remedies, seek medical attention from an ophthalmologist. By taking proactive actions and following the recommended treatments, you can fine-tune your eye health and improve your overall life.

HK Vitals


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