Eyelid infection (belpharitis)

Like a chalazion or stye, blepharitis is an infectious disease that affects the rims of the eyelids.

Overview

Like a chalazion or stye, blepharitis is an infectious disease that affects the rims of the eyelids. Symptoms include the feeling that there is something in your eye and swollen, itchy eyelids that are sticky and crusty. There are many causes. These include infections, malfunctioning eyelid glands, clogged glands, oily skin and external factors such as smoke. Consistent eyelid and hand hygiene is important.

Symptoms

  • Burning, itching eyes and eyelids
  • Red, swollen eyes
  • Feeling of something in your eye
  • Sticky, crusted eyes in the morning
  • Yellowish eye secretion
  • Greasy coating on eyelids and lashes
  • Seeing a grey haze

Complications

  • Chronic blepharitis
  • Acute or chronic conjunctivitis
  • Stye (hordeolum)
  • Eyelashes fall out
  • Scarring on rim of eyelid

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Infection, most common pathogens: staphylococci
  • Increased production of oil in the skin (seborrhoea)
  • Increased secretion by eyelid glands (too much tear fluid)
  • Clogged glands on the rim of the eyelid (dry eyes)
  • General diseases
  • External factors
    • Chemical irritants (cosmetics)
    • Mechanical irritants (contact lenses, draughts, smoke, dust)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination with slit lamp
  • Swab of secretion
Possible therapies
  • Eyelid hygiene, instructions on self-care
  • Moistening eye drops
  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops or ointment
  • Eye ointments
  • For an acute bacterial infection: antibiotics in the form of tablets or eye ointment

What can I do myself?

  • Avoid passing on to others
    • Don't touch eyes during the day
    • Strictest hand hygiene
    • Strictest hygiene in eye care
  • Remove cause (working in front of a computer screen, draught, cosmetics, etc.)
  • If eyelids are inflamed, don't wear contact lenses
  • Don't rub the eyes
  • Consistent eyelid hygiene
    • Soften the crusts with moist warm eye pads or cotton buds
    • Remove crusts, carefully squeeze eyelid glands
    • Wipe properly: once from the outside to the inside, throw pad away, new pad, etc.
    • Don’t add chamomile or black tea (allergy risk, risk of drying out)

When to see a doctor?

Synonyms

blepharitis, eyelid infection, inflammation of the eyelid, blepharitis squamosa

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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