New Smyrna Beach (386) 427-4143

Dry Eye: The Blepharitis Connection

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the eyelids. It’s very common, and many people will experience it at some point during their lifetime. Blepharitis is most often linked to bacterial or skin conditions, which contributes to the condition’s commonness. Patients who suffer from issues such as eczema, acne or rosacea may suffer from regular episodes, sometimes known as chronic Blepharitis. Although blepharitis can be uncomfortable and irritating, it very rarely causes any significant visual difficulties. However, it can dramatically affect tear film production. Below, we describe symptoms and complications of Blepharitis, as well as detail the connection between Blepharitis and another common condition called Dry Eye.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?


 

There are many different symptoms associated with Blepharitis. These include:

 

  • Visible swelling

  • Irritation

  • Redness

  • Itching

  • Tearing

  • Feeling of a foreign body inside the eye

  • Crusting of the eyelids and eyelashes

  • Sensitivity to light


 

Complications Arising from Blepharitis



Unfortunately, if Blepharitis isn’t treated and patients suffer from the condition long-term, it can lead to a range of different complications. These include:


 

  • Changes to the lid margins of the eyes

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Keratitis: inflammation of the cornea which is the clear, dome-shaped tissue covering the pupil and iris at the front of the eye

  • Dry eye


 

What is Dry Eye and How is Blepharitis Connected?



Our eyes rely on a layer of tear film that coats the surface to enable them to move smoothly, give us clear vision and ensure our eyes are healthy. However, when our eyes are seriously inflamed and swollen, it can affect their ability to make enough good quality tear film. Although this may not sound serious, lack of decent tear film can result in a range of debilitating symptoms, many of which are the same as experienced in cases of Blepharitis. People with Dry Eye may also experience blurred vision, eye fatigue, difficulty concentrating and stiffness of the eyes.


 

The exact mechanisms that cause the symptoms are still unclear, but it is thought that inflammation stops the meibomian glands (which are responsible for producing the oil that is found in tear film) from working effectively. They may not produce enough oil or there may be blockages of hardened oil deposits in the glands. Either way, there isn’t enough oil mixing with the other elements of the tear film for it to work as effectively as required. 


 

Can Dry Eye Caused by Blepharitis Be Treated?



Absolutely! If you are experiencing the symptoms of Dry Eye or Blepharitis, it’s important to visit your eye doctor to obtain advice. Whether your Dry Eye is occurring as a result of Blepharitis or it is a standalone condition, it can be treated, and doing so could hugely improve your quality of life.


 

There are a range of different treatments that may be recommended depending on what your eye doctor believes is the cause of your dry eyes and how they have responded to the therapies tried. Some of the options that may be suggested to you could include:


 

  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops and oral medications

  • Antihistamines

  • Artificial tears to moisten the eyes

  • Medicated eye drops

  • Maintaining exceptional eyelid hygiene

  • Warm compresses over the eyes

 

 

To learn more about Blepharitis or Dry Eye, contact Volusia Eye Associates in New Smyrna Beach at (386) 427-4143 or Edgewater, Florida at (386) 230-0300 to schedule an appointment today!