Blepharitis and Conjunctivitis
With blepharitis, the eyelids become coated with oily particles and bacteria near the base of the eyelashes. What is eyelid margin disease
Eyelid margin disease is a common and persistent inflammation of the eyelids. Symptoms include:
Eye and eyelid irritation:
· Itchiness of the eye:
· Redness of the eye:
Burning sensation. This condition frequently occurs in people who have a tendency toward oily skin, dandruff or dry eyes. With blepharitis, both the upper and lower eyelids become coated with oily particles and bacteria near the base of the eyelashes. It may cause irritation, itchiness, redness, and stinging or burning of the eye.
WHAT CAUSES BLEPHARITIS
Everyone has bacteria on the surface of their skin, but in some people, bacteria thrive in the skin at the base of the eyelashes. Large amounts of bacteria around the eyelashes can cause dandruff-like scales and particles to form along the lashes and eyelid margins.
Blepharitis is also associated with meibomianitis — a dysfunction and inflammation of the nearby oil glands of the eyelids (called meibomian glands).
HOW IS BLEPHARITIS TREATED
Blepharitis is often a chronic condition, but it can be controlled with the following treatment: Warm compresses. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out and place it over your closed eyelids for at least one minute. Repeat two or three times, rewetting the washcloth as it cools. This will loosen scales and debris around your eyelashes. It also helps dilute oil secretions from nearby oil glands, preventing the development of a chalazion (pronounced kuh-LAY-zee-un) — an enlarged lump caused by clogged oil secretions in the eyelid. Eyelid scrubs.
Using a clean washcloth, cotton swab or commercial lint-free pad soaked in warm water, gently scrub the base of your eyelashes for about 15 seconds per eyelid. Antibiotic ointment. Your ophthalmologist may prescribe an antibiotic ointment. Using a clean fingertip or cotton swab, gently apply a small amount at the base of the eyelashes before bedtime.
Artificial tears or steroid eyedrops may also be prescribed temporarily to relieve dry eye or inflammation. Good hygiene. Because blepharitis can be a persistent problem, you should practice good skin and eyelid hygiene to prevent recurrences. In addition to careful cleansing of your eyelashes, washing your hair, scalp and eyebrows with antibacterial shampoo can also help control blepharitis.
Conjunctivitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the conjunctiva — the thin, filmy membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white part of your eye (sclera). Conjunctivitis is most commonly referred to as “pink” eye. The conjunctiva, which contains tiny blood vessels, produces mucus to coat and lubricate the surface of your eye. When the conjunctiva becomes irritated or inflamed, the blood vessels become larger and more prominent, making your eye appear red. Conjunctivitis may occur in one or both eyes.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
· Increased tearing:
· Soreness of the eye:
· Foreign body sensation:
· Itchiness of the eye:
· Hazy or blurred vision due to mucus or pus:
· Excess mucus (pus):
· Crusting of eyelashes in the morning.
WHAT CAUSES CONJUNCTIVITIS
Many different sources of eye irritation can cause conjunctivitis. The most common are:
· Infections (viral and bacterial):
· Environmental irritants.
Viral infection is the most common cause of conjunctivitis. This same virus produces the familiar red and watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of a common cold. Symptoms of conjunctivitis can last from one to two weeks and then will disappear on their own. Discomfort, however, can be alleviated with warm compresses applied to the eyes. Prescription eyedrops may be prescribed by your ophthalmologist to help minimize drainage or discomfort.
Bacterial infections, such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus, cause a type of pink eye that produces considerable amounts of pus. Some bacterial infections, however, are more chronic and may produce little or no discharge except for some mild crusting of the eyelashes in the morning.
Antibiotic eyedrops are typically used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. Infectious conjunctivitis, whether bacterial or viral, is highly contagious while the eyes are draining. Practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis if you are infected.
· Avoid reusing handkerchiefs and towels to wipe your face and eyes:
· Wash your hands frequently
· Keep your hands away from your eyes:
· Replace your eye cosmetics regularly — do not share with other people:
Properly clean your contact lenses. Allergic conjunctivitis is not infectious or contagious. It occurs when the body is exposed to materials that cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen or dander, and is often seasonal. The main symptom of allergic conjunctivitis is itchiness of the eye. Other symptoms include redness, burning, tearing and puffy eyelids.
A variety of eyedrops are very helpful for allergic conjunctivitis. Your ophthalmologist can help you decide if an over-the-counter or a prescription drop is best for you. Environmental irritants, such as smoke or fumes, may also cause conjunctivitis. The symptoms are usually similar to those of allergic conjunctivitis.
WHAT ARE OTHER CAUSES OF RED EYES
Generally, conjunctivitis is easily treated. However, if symptoms of conjunctivitis persist for an extended period of time after treatment, you should have your eyes examined by your ophthalmologist, as these symptoms may indicate a more serious eye problem. There are several eye diseases that cause red eyes, some of which can lead to blindness unless diagnosed and treated.