Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids, it makes the eyelids red and crusty and your eyes feel sore or itchy. In severe cases, your lashes may fall out, and you can develop small ulcers or styes. The eyelids can become puffy. The symptoms are usually worse in the morning. It is not associated with damage to the eyes.

Who is at risk of blepharitis?

Blepharitis is most common in people over 50, but it can develop at any age. As you get older, the tears contain fewer lubricants and your eyes can feel gritty and dry.

How should I look after my eyes if I have blepharitis?

If you have blepharitis, avoid eye make-up.

There are treatments which can help you reduce the effects of blepharitis. You may need the treatment for several months.

Warm compresses

Warm compresses warm the material that blocks the glands and loosens the crusts on the eyelid, making them easier to remove. You can use a flannel as a warm compress, or you can buy an Eyebag from your optometrist which you heat up in the microwave. Soak the flannel in hot, not boiling water, and place the flannels on the shut eyelids for five minutes, massaging gently with your hands. This will loosen the crusts, you can then use lid scrubs.

Lid scrubs

Make up a solution of baby shampoo (one part baby shampoo to 10 parts water) or bicarbonate of soda (one teaspoon dissolved in a cup of water) using cooled boiled water. After using the compress, use your finger to pull your lower lid slightly away from the eye and clean the lower lid edge with a cotton wool bud dipped in the solution.

Repeat this morning and evening for two weeks, and then two to three times each week in the future to prevent the problem from coming back.

You can also buy Lid Scrubs from your optometrist.

Lubricants

Using a comfort drop can help to lubricate the eye and make it feel more comfortable.