What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is a common inflammation of the eyelids. Symptoms include irritation,
itching, and sometimes a red eye. This often occurs in people who have oily skin,
dandruff, or dry eyes. Blepharitis can begin in early childhood, and last throughout
life, or it can occur later in life as an adult.
All of us have bacteria on the surface of our skin and when it starts thriving in the
eyelids, the eyelids can become irritated or itchy. Some people can form an allergy
to the scales and bacteria around their lashes which can lead to more serious
inflammation of other eye tissues like the cornea.
Blepharitis may not be cured, but it can be controlled by the measures listed below.
1. Wash your hands.
2. Place a warm, moist compress over each eyelid for a minute or two each day
to soften or loosen the scales.
3. Scrub the eyelids at least once a day in this manner.
ξ Fill a small glass with warm water.
ξ Add three drops of baby shampoo.
ξ Take a clean cotton swab or ball and soak it in the liquid.
ξ Gently scrub the margin of both eyelids at the base of the eyelashes to
loosen any scales.
ξ Rinse the lid with a cotton ball soaked with cool tap water.
ξ Gently dry with a clean towel.
ξ If told to do so, apply antibiotic ointment to the base of the lashes with a
cotton swab or your finger.
4. Artificial tears may be used to decrease the itchy feeling of the eye.
Keep in mind, the best prevention is lid compresses and scrubs twice a day. If
symptoms last and none of the above treatments help, see your eye doctor.
In blepharitis, both upper and
lower eyelids become coated
with oily debris and bacteria
near the base of the eyelashes.
The eye feels sore and may
become inflamed. Routine,
thorough cleaning of the lid
edge helps control the
University Station Eye Clinic, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
When the clinic is closed, your call will be forwarded to the hospital paging
operator. Ask for the “Eye Resident on Call”. Give the operator your name and
phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 and ask to be transferred to the
Please call if you have any questions or concerns.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 1/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospital
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5042