Blepharitis is the medical term for irritated, swollen eyelids, and this eye condition affects both adults and children.

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids that can lead to other eye problems like:

There are two types of blepharitis:

Anterior blepharitis affects the outside of your eyes, where your eyelashes attach to your eyelid.  

Posterior blepharitis, on the other hand, affects the inner edge of the eyelid and occurs when the oil-producing meibomian glands in your eyelids get clogged and produce thickened or unhealthy oil.

Most cases of blepharitis are not contagious and are unlikely to cause blindness.

What causes blepharitis?

Blepharitis is usually caused by too much bacteria on the eyelids at the base of your eyelashes. 

You can also get blepharitis if the oil glands (meibomian glands) in your eyelids get clogged or irritated.

Other risk factors for developing blepharitis include:

Anterior blepharitis is usually caused by the following:

Causes of posterior blepharitis include:

Blepharitis symptoms

Blepharitis typically causes the following symptoms:

Blepharitis may also lead to more severe problems such as:

Blepharitis diagnosis

Your ophthalmologist will usually diagnose blepharitis by performing a physical eye examination to take a close look at your eyes, eyelids, and eyelashes. 

There is no single test for blepharitis, but here are a few steps your ophthalmologist may follow:

Blepharitis treatment

The treatment for blepharitis focuses on keeping your eyelids clean and free of crusts. 

Your ophthalmologist may recommend using a gentle cleanser and water to clean your eyelids and remove crusts every day:


Wash your hands with soap and water.


Mix warm water with a gentle cleanser.


Dip a clean, soft cloth or cotton swab in the mixture.


Press the cloth against your closed eye to loosen the crusts.


Gently rub back and forth, focusing on the area where your eyelashes meet your eyelids.


Rinse your eye with clean water and repeat on your other eye.

Self-care at home may also help soothe the symptoms of blepharitis, such as:

Other treatments for blepharitis include the following:

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