Blepharitis Care in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, VA
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is inflammation along the eyelid margin, glands, and eye lashes. Blepharitis is very common and can occur in people of all ages.
There are many causes of this inflammation. Often, it is a person’s immune system’s over-reaction to the normal flora around the eyelids. Normal flora is bacteria that are supposed to be there (people have normal flora bacteria in their gut, on their skin, and in many places). The normal flora bacteria are “normal” to be there and are not an infection, but sometimes the body treats it like an infection. Many times, the normal flora are over-populated around the eyes to result in blepharitis.
The body reacts to infection by sending inflammation. The over-populated normal flora as well as the inflammation results in redness along the eyelid margin, flaky material along the eyelashes, clogging of the tear glands around the eye, redness of the eyes, and tearing of the eyes. Crust along the eyelashes in the morning is very characteristic of blepharitis.
Symptoms of blepharitis include irritation, burning, dryness, mild pain, soreness, and light sensitivity. Blepharitis often will have “flare-ups” of excessive irritation from time to time.
Treatment of Blepharitis
There is a plethora of treatments for blepharitis. The baseline treatment includes eyelid hygiene. Eyelid hygiene includes removing the flaky material and the bacteria along the eyelids and lashes with scrubs, shampoos, and or foams. Baby shampoo has been used in the past as it is safe to use around the eyes and can work well, but often over the counter scrubs and foams are a preferred treatment. Warm compresses are also utilized as it heats up the oil glands that are clogged to help secrete the tear film better.
When baseline treatment of eyelid hygiene does not work, often times second and third line treatments are required. Prescription eye ointments, eyelid scrubs, and even oral medications are utilized to help limit signs and improve symptoms.
Many times these secondary measures are needed during a flare-up of blepharitis.
How Our Virginia Beach and Norfolk, VA Optometrists Can Help
Comprehensive eye exams by our Virginia Beach and Norfolk, VA optometrists can determine whether your symptoms are indeed blepharitis, and if so, which treatment is appropriate. Our eye doctors at Gilbert Eyecare will examine your lid margins, eyelashes, eyelid skin, oil glands and tear film to assess the full clinical picture. A baseline treatment regimen often will be started, and then in times of flare-ups our doctors are available for our patients for office visits to determine which secondary treatments may be indicated.