Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids. It is a very common cause of discomfort in the eye. It is usually bilateral and symmetrical. We can distinguish internal and external blepharitis, even if the two forms often coexist and there is a considerable overlap in the symptoms.
External blepharitis involves the eyelid edges and may be secondary to staphylococcal infection or to the seborrheic type, or a mixture of the two. Generalised seborrhoea is often present in the seborrheic form.
The inflammation in internal blepharitis is secondary to a dysfunction of the meibomian glands.
Blepharitis generally are characterised by itching, swelling and burning feeling at the edge of the eyelid. In external blepharitis dry (in the staphylococcal form) or oily (in the seborrheic form) scales in the eyelash area or small ulcers (in the staphylococcal form) are generally present. In internal blepharitis a number of signs associated with meibomian gland dysfunction are noted: glandular duct obstruction, abnormal secretion of lipids in the tear fluid, redness of the eyelid edge.
The external staphylococcal blepharitis is treated topically with antibiotics. There is no definitive cure for the seborrheic form or internal blepharitis. In case of severe inflammation, topical treatments with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication are often used. It is strongly recommended to carry out a thorough and diligent cleaning of the eyelids with specific products, aimed to keep the eyelid edge free of scales or secretions.