Blepharitis - FAQ

Question 1: What is Blepharitis?

Answer: Blepharitis is a common condition where the edges of the eyelids become red and swollen and the inflammation affects the skin around the base of the eyelashes.

Question 2: What are the Common Symptoms of Blepharitis?

Answer: Common symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • itchy, sore and red eyelids that stick together
  • crusty or greasy eyelashes
  • a burning, gritty sensation
  • increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • swollen eyelid margins
  • finding contact lenses uncomfortable to wear
  • abnormal eyelash growth or loss of eyelashes in severe cases

Question 3: How is Blepharitis Diagnosed?

Answer:  Your Optometrist will use a microscope (called a slit-lamp) to examine the eyelids.  He or she will look for crusting and debris on the eyelids.

Question 4: Can Blepharitis be Cured?

Answer:  Blepharitis can’t be cured, however, it can be managed effectively with lid hygiene and treatment like Blephex.

Question 5: What Causes Blepharitis?

Answer: there are 2 main causes of blepharitis on the eyelashes:

  • a reaction to Staphylococcus bacteria – these usually live harmlessly on the skin of many people, but for reasons that are not yet known, they cause the eyelids to become inflamed.
  • seborrhoeic dermatitis – a skin condition that causes the skin to become oily or flaky and sometimes irritate the eyelids, causing the Meibomian glands to block.

Question 6: Is Blepharitis Contagious?

Answer: No, not at all.  If you have children, they can continue to go to school.

Question 7: How is Blepharitis Related to Dry Eye Disease?

Answer: Blepharitis is often caused by an overload of bacteria that commonly live on the eyelids.  These bacteria produce toxins that go into the eyes and cause irritation.  Blepharitis also can cause tiny glands in the eyelids to become blocked (called meibomian glands) and these glands produce oil for the tear film.  A lack of oil causes increased evaporation of the tears and dry eye.

Question 8: How is Blepharitis Treated?


  • Regular lid hygiene
  • Antibiotic creams and ointments may be advised where infection is suspected
  • Blephex