WHAT IS BLEPHARITIS?
Blepharitis, also known as Dry Eye, is inflammation of the eyelid. It is a very common eye disorder that affects the lid margin and eyelash follicles.
THE TEAR FILM
To understand the symptoms of blepharitis, you must first know about the tear film. Oils that are produced by the meibomian glands usually stabilize the normal tear film. These oils act to keep the tear film intact even as we stare, and slow down tear evaporation. If the oil component of the tear film is abnormal or missing, people develop intermittent symptoms of dry eye.
Symptoms depend on the cause of the blepharitis. They are usually worse in the morning and involve both eyes.
Symptoms may include:
- Redness, flaky skin, and oily secretions along the edge of the eyelid
- Crusty material clinging to the eyelashes
- Eyelids “glued together” in the morning
- Dry scales or dandruff-type material on the scalp and eyebrows
- Itching or burning sensation
- Light sensitivity
- Sensation of a foreign object in the eye
- Ulcers or sores at the base of the eyelashes (in severe cases)
- Scant, broken eyelashes
- Chalazions, also known as a stye
- Conjunctivitis (occasionally)
- Corneal Ulcer (occasionally)
HOW DID I GET BLEPHARITIS?
This is the big question. Believe it or not, the answer is still a bit of a mystery. We know that the basic problem with blepharitis is that the oils produced by the eyelids become semi-solid and can plug the oil glands. The oils are supposed to be liquid at body temperature. Glands make the oils deep in both the upper and lower eyelids, and they are deposited at the lid margin into the tear film on a continuous basis. The oil is important in creating a good stable tear film. When people have blepharitis, the oils are waxy and thick and do not mix with the tear film. Bacteria normally live in the oil glands, but they increase in population in this scenario because the flow in the oil glands is decreased. The immune system recognizes the increase in bacteria and creates an inflammatory response. This along with the surface changes from dryness is what causes the eyes to become red and the lid margins irritated. The abnormal tear film causes dry eye symptoms. Generally, the problem goes on for years before an individual experiences symptoms. Why the oil becomes waxy is the question to be answered. It may be that bacteria present make enzymes that change the oil. Alternatively, it may be thick oil that traps the bacteria. In either case, the treatment recommendations are the same.
Many people do not understand that most cases of itchy, dry, red, irritated eyes are at least in part secondary to poor health of their eyelids. The standard of care for the treatment of inflamed eyelids (blepharitis) has been the use of warm compresses to the lids, artificial tears, and usually a prescription antibiotic ointment.
TLC effectively replaces the prescription antibiotic ointment with an all natural anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory formula that can be used as long as needed without the cost, hassle, and side effects of prolonged antibiotic usage.
Total Lid Care (TLC) is a natural solution used to control the itching, redness, burning, and pain of dry eyes and blepharitis.