Blepharitis: Prevention and treatment

Length: 2 minutes read
Date added: 03/04/24
Author: Optical Team

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the edges of the eyelid, causing the eye to appear red and swollen. Blepharitis is not usually serious and you cannot catch it from someone else. It is a common condition in young children and for adults over 50 years of age. 


Blepharitis has no known cause and is not an infection. In some people, it may be caused by a reaction to the bacteria that live naturally on the eyelid skin. 


  • Soreness of eyes, such as burning and stinging 
  • The eyes often feel gritty with the need to itch and scratch 
  • Eyelids may stick together especially in the morning from a sticky discharge 
  • Eyes can appear crusty, look greasy or be inflamed 
  • You may have difficulty wearing contact lenses 

These symptoms tend to come and go, with flare ups from time to time. Blepharitis is often associated with: 

  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis (dandruff), which causes an itchy rash on the skin and scalp 
  • Rosacea, which causes the face to appear red and blotchy 
  • Dry eye syndrome 


Blepharitis can be difficult to treat as it is often persistent with intermittent outbreaks. As there is no known cause, there is no one cure. However, the tips below will help you to alleviate the symptoms and reduce recurrence. 

  • Begin a daily eyelid-cleansing routine to soothe the eyelids and remove discharges. 
  • Warmth: Applying warmth helps soften the skin and any crusts. One way to do this is to apply a warm eye bag, or to soak the eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes with a warm flannel (not hot) and re-warm as needed 
  • Massage: Immediately after applying warmth, massage the eyelids (with eyes closed) to assist drainage of oily fluid from the tiny glands inside. Please be careful with pressure: it should be reasonably comfortable but not too firm, so as to avoid causing damage to your eyeball 
  • Cleanse:  Cleanse the eyelids with a clean cloth or cotton wool pad. Immerse the cloth or pad in cooled preserved water 
  • Use artificial tear drops to reduce dryness 
  • Avoid rubbing your eyelids as this will encourage inflammation 
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup 
  • Severe episodes may benefit from antibiotic ointment and drops 
  • Remove contact lenses if they are causing discomfort 
  • If you have the associated conditions, ensure they are being treated. 



An eye examination is a vital health check and should be part of everyone’s regular health care. 


If you have any concerns about the health of your eyes, please call Whitby & Co. Optician on +44 20 7353 4455 to arrange an appointment. Alternatively, you can make an appointment online. 


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