Knowing About and Managing Eyelid Inflammation

What is Eyelid Inflammation?

Eyelid inflammation is medically termed as blepharitis, one of the most common eye disorders caused by irritation of the eyelid tissues at the edges where the eyelashes grow.  The condition is more an annoyance, is not infectious and can respond positively to commercially available medication.  There is little cause for alarm as it does not lead to permanent visual impairment except that it can impair your facial looks temporarily.  You  can just cover it up with a dark sunglass if you have to go out.  The inflammation even if left untreated, can resolve itself in 2-4 weeks. But modern medication can reduce the swelling faster.


Any kind of inflammation will have the primary symptoms of itching and burning as blepharitis has but more in the eyelid edges. In advance cases, your eyelids can also appear reddish, swollen and greasy. In some cases, eyes get watery and red as well.  In more severe cases, skin flaking around the eyes with crusted eyelashes can appear especially in when waking up.  Eyelashes may tend to grow inward or fall out and there is heightened sensitivity to light. While blepharitis does not directly affect any of your optic system, a poor tear film arising from the condition can cause temporary blurring of vision.

Causes of Eyelid Inflammation

Eyelid inflammation occurs when the tiny oil glands under the eyelid margins behind the eyelashes malfunction. There are about 40 oil glands around the upper and lower eyelids and if any of these glands produce too much, too little, in the wrong chemistry of oil, the eyelid gets irritated and inflamed. Acne Rosacea, an abnormal oil gland secretion similar to an acne outbreak is a common cause.  Hence, the most common type of eyelid inflammation is Rosacea-induced Meibomian Blepharitis which causes the oils to inflame the Meibomian glands at the edges of the eyelids.

Irritants in the environment occasioned by chemical particulates can trigger an eyelid inflammation especially if have allergies to such chemicals. Exposure to pollen, dust mite, animal dander, bird feathers, chicken dung and animal droppings, and even furry pets can cause allergic blepharitis.

Another eyelid inflammation type is seborrheic blepharitis which is akin to scalp dandruff and staphylococcal blepharitis which is a more severe type caused by bacterial infection of the lash base or anterior portion of the eyelid.

Dealing with Eyelid Inflammation

An examination of your eyelids is enough to diagnose blepharitis. And the main therapy for treating and preventing eyelid inflammation is good eyelid hygiene.  That often means washing and irrigating your eyes with clean tap water outside of your usual bath or shower times.  And when you develop the condition, continue with you’re a hygiene routine, this time, using warm water and then using a warm wet compress maintained applied to the eyelids for 10 minutes accompanies by a cleansing of the eyelid edges of any crusting and flaking using a non irritating hypoallergenic mild soap or baby shampoo.

If the signs of eyelid inflammation do not go away after a week of good hygiene, call and schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist or doctor. There could be more to the condition that mild inflammatory blepharitis.   You may be suffering contagious blepharitis caused by the staphylococcus or seborrheic bacteria and upon diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe the topical antibiotics. You can expect visual blurring with the application off antibiotic eyedrops or ointments and it is best to apply them before sleeping rather than in the morning. Antibiotic drugs formulated with cortisone are the commonly prescribed but should not be used for long and without the supervision of your ophthalmologist since they are known to cause glaucoma in predisposed persons. Resistant cases may require the use of oral antibiotics

If you contract eyelid inflammation due to allergens, you can confirm it through an allergy test your doctor or healthcare center can administer and if confirmed, there are over the counter ocular antihistamines that are safe and can provide immediate and lasting relief from allergy-induced eye inflammation.

Recent studies have attracted interest in using a fish diet or food supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids which has shown efficacy in treating eyelid inflammation and other eye disorders.


Eyelid inflammation or blepharitis generally responds well to treatment but it can recur or go into relapse.  You should continue with the hygiene regimen to prevent aggravation or recurrence of the condition after healing.  If it was caused by allergies, then simply avoid the allergens from hereon.  You need to visit your doctor or ophthalmologist who will check on your progress and will adjust your medication should there be resistance to the first treatment.