Blepharitis (blef-uh-RI-tis) is inflammation that affects the eyelids. Blepharitis usually involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow.

Blepharitis commonly occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes malfunction. This leads to inflamed, irritated and itchy eyelids. Several diseases and conditions can cause blepharitis.

Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and may be unattractive, but it usually doesn't cause permanent damage to your eyesight.

Symptoms Causes Complications

Blepharitis symptoms and signs include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • A gritty, burning sensation in the eye
  • Eyelids that appear greasy
  • Itchy eyelids
  • Red, swollen eyelids
  • Flaking of the skin around the eyes
  • Crusted eyelashes upon awakening
  • Eyelid sticking
  • More frequent blinking
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eyelashes that grow abnormally (misdirected eyelashes)
  • Loss of eyelashes

When to see a doctor

If you have blepharitis symptoms and signs that don't seem to be improving despite good hygiene — regular cleaning and care of the affected area — make an appointment with your doctor.

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