Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: What can I do about blepharitis?

Q. I suffer from blepharitis and have tried many medications, but the condition always returns. How can I cure it?

A. Blepharitis is chronic inflammation of the eyelids. It tends to wax and wane, causing considerable discomfort when it flares up. The vexing symptoms may include red eyes, a burning or gritty sensation in the eye, red and swollen eyelids, itchy eyelids, flaking of the eyelid skin, crusting on the eyelashes (especially upon waking), and blurred vision. The eye and eyelid become more vulnerable to infection, and eyelashes may fall out or grow abnormally. There's no definitive cure, but you can reduce day-to-day symptoms as well as flares if you're willing to commit to a regular program of eyelid cleansing and care.

Blepharitis is classified as either posterior (occurring on the inner edge of the eyelid) or anterior (occurring on the outer part of the eyelid). Anterior blepharitis affects the eyelash follicles (where the eyelashes attach to the eyelid). The follicles may become inflamed, clogged by flaking or crusting skin, or infected by skin bacteria.

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