What is blepharitis?Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelids. It often occurs together with conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis).
In blepharitis or Lidrandentzündung the eyelid margins are inflamed. Lidrandentzündung can be caused by bacterial infections. But non-infectious reasons can be responsible for it.
Blepharitis can occur again and again in some cases and thus become chronic. Acute inflammation usually heals within a short time, provided they are treated properly. An untreated Lidrandentzündung can cause damage to the eyes. A medical treatment is therefore always advisable.
Typical symptoms are reddened, burning and itchy eyes. Especially after waking up the eyelids can be glued. Depending on the cause of the disease, various therapies are used to treat blepharitis.
There are several causes for blepharitis. In many cases it is triggered by a bacterial infection. Staphylococci are the most common cause of the infection. Staphylococci are found in most people's skin. They produce various substances that can cause inflammation in a weakened immune system.
Infection by staphylococci can often become chronic as the bacteria are constantly on the skin. In addition, inflammation of the lid can be caused by infections, by other bacteria or viruses. Also, pubic lice or mites sometimes cause blepharitis.
Various disorders of the sebaceous glands and the skin disease rosacea are also in some cases the cause of the disease. In addition, allergic reactions, as well as external irritants such as drafts, heat, cold, dust, chemical substances, smoke and frequent rubbing as causes of blepharitis come into question.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Blepharitis typically causes burning and itching in the eyes. Most of the eyes are also very red and glued. Especially in the morning after waking up, the edges of the eyelids are heavily encrusted and / or sticky, and the eyes can not be opened easily. The affected also feel a foreign body sensation that increases in the course of inflammation and causes a strong malaise.
Lidrandentzündung can lead to the formation of dandruff on the edge of the eyelid or eyelash. In addition to the eyes, the eyelids are also red and moist, giving them the typical shine. The eyelashes stick together due to the discharge and in consequence oily and greasy. Partly in the eye's area small oily droplets form, which can cause a strong burning sensation when they reach the eye.
Blepharitis is sometimes associated with other conditions such as fever or the flu. Then symptoms like fatigue, increased heart rate and secretion from the nose can be added. Externally, an inflammation of the lime margin can be recognized by the conspicuous redness and the adhesions. Based on these signs, the disease can usually be clearly diagnosed.
Diagnosis & History
To diagnose a blepharitis, the doctor first asks for all complaints. Itching, burning and reddened eyes and adhesions after waking up are usually clear indications of an existing lid artery inflammation.
To confirm the diagnosis, the ophthalmologist looks at the eye with a slit lamp. A slit lamp casts a slit-shaped light beam onto the eye and at the same time makes it possible for the doctor to look at the eye in an enlarged form. If the typical symptoms of blepharitis occur, it is important to consult the ophthalmologist.
If left untreated, lid margin inflammation can damage the eye. This can lead to chronic conjunctivitis, pitted changes on the edge of the eyelid and lashes. Acute blepharitis heals with treatment within a few days or weeks. Chronic Lidrandentzündungen can not be cured. By appropriate treatment, however, the symptoms of chronic blepharitis can be alleviated.
In blepharitis, there are mainly complications and complaints to the eyes. It can cause itching or burning in the eyes. The quality of life is extremely reduced by the blepharitis and the symptoms occur especially after sleeping in the patient. If the blepharitis is not treated by a doctor, it can lead to severe damage and inflammation of the eye.
This can form a conjunctivitis. The treatment itself can last several days or weeks and depends strongly on the severity of the inflammation. The treatment is primarily aimed at alleviating the symptoms. The person concerned must take antibiotics for a certain period of time and is dependent on eye drops or eye ointments.
There are no further complications or complaints and the course of the disease is positive. Due to the blepharitis, the patient is only slightly limited in his everyday life. However, dusty and smoky areas must be avoided, so that there are no further complaints to the eye and the healing process is not prevented.
When should you go to the doctor?
Whether a blepharitis must be treated by a doctor, decides on their duration, spread and cause. It is important to distinguish between infectious and non-infectious eyelid inflammation.
Classic signs of inflammation (redness, swelling, pain) are in most cases infectious blepharitis. The causative agents are often bacterial pathogens, more rarely viruses or parasites. The treatment must therefore be carried out by the ophthalmologist in a specific manner. Self-treatment is discouraged, as there is a risk of delaying pathogens into surrounding areas. In the worst case, this leads to an expansion of the local infection on the connective or cornea of the eye.
A non-infectious blepharitis, which is based on a malfunction of the sebaceous glands in the eyelid (meibomian gland dysfunction, MDD), can first be treated independently if no other symptoms arise. The recommended cleaning schedule (applying moist, warm compresses, eyelid massage and eyelid cleansing) should be applied twice daily for a period of three to four weeks.
The use of a tear substitute may additionally assist healing. If, after a few weeks, there is no significant improvement in the symptoms or if additional complications occur, an ophthalmologist should be consulted.
Certain underlying diseases (rosacea, atopic dermatitis, seborrhoeic skin) favor the occurrence of Lidrandentzündungen. For recurrent blepharitis, it is therefore advisable to have this clarified by a specialist in dermatology.
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Treatment & Therapy
Blepharitis can be treated by several measures. If bacterial infections are the cause, eye ointments containing antibiotics are used. In some cases, an antibiotic must be taken in the form of tablets. In almost all forms of blepharitis eye ointments with anti-inflammatory agents are administered.
Sometimes an inflammation of the lid margin also causes a disturbance of the tear flow. In these cases, the doctor will prescribe tear replacement fluid in the form of eye drops. If other diseases are the cause of the blepharitis, it will be treated accordingly. In addition to all drug treatments, the eyelid should be cleaned daily to aid therapy.
It should be carefully removed encrustations and the eyelid to be cleaned. It should therefore be paid to absolute hygiene, so that any existing bacteria can not spread further. Moist warm compresses can help liquefy hardened sebum in the lid margins. All supporting measures can alleviate the symptoms of blepharitis.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of blepharitis depends on the course of the disease. If the symptoms become chronic, there is the possibility that the patient suffers from the inflammation for many years. A weakened immune system and a high age of the affected person are also unfavorable for a complete cure.
There are good prospects if the patient requires early treatment, is in middle age and has no pre-existing conditions. With a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, the organism often has enough defenses to cure the inflammation on its own. With a medical treatment of the eye, the healing path is shortened to a significant degree.
Delays can occur if the patient develops an intolerance to prescribed medications. Although there are a variety of alternative medicines, the physical reaction due to the allergy can further weaken the immune system. Thus, the organism has too few resources to successfully fight against the pathogens.
In severe cases, the lid margin inflammation can lead to further germs penetrating the inside of the body. As a result, form additional diseases whose cure prospects are uncertain. If the doctor's instructions are followed and the eyelid is additionally relieved by self-help measures, a cure within a few days or weeks is possible.
There are no preventive measures against acute blepharitis. Acute Lidrandentzündung can be treated only by an appropriate treatment and alleviate the symptoms. If the eyelid inflammation is chronic, the eyelid should be hygienically cleaned daily. Also, stimuli that can cause a Lidrandentzündung be avoided as possible. Drafts, smoke or dust are among the factors that can cause blepharitis.
In the case of a healed and treated acute blepharitis, medical follow-up in the true sense is not necessary. Only if the eyelids or eyes have been damaged due to infection and swelling, temporary eye care is recommended. This may consist, for example, in the precautionary use of humectants or decongestant creams.
After a blepharitis has survived, sufferers should also refrain from unnecessarily irritating their eyes. From a hygienic point of view, the regular washing of the face is sufficient. A manipulation of the eyelids or eyes with the fingers is not necessary, insofar as it is not related to the administration of medication.
Otherwise, there are no significant options for follow-up, as acute blepharitis can usually be treated with no complications. The chronic form of blepharitis can be well controlled by medication and eye hygiene.
It is therefore not necessary to take special measures if the own eyelids were once inflamed. Rather misunderstood and excessive hygiene can also endanger the eye. Excessive hygiene often leads to dry eyes, injuries or irritations - all factors that contribute to the development of blepharitis.
However, people who often have blepharitis should visit their ophthalmologist more frequently.
You can do that yourself
It is important not to unnecessarily irritate your eyes, for example, to prevent eyelid inflammation. B. intense sunlight without sunglasses, exposure to dust, irritation by dust or dehydration in the winter by heating air.
For eyelid inflammation, it is very important to provide sufficient lid edge hygiene. This starts with moist, warm compresses to liquefy the tough secretion that blocks the lacrimal glands. To do this, moisten a fresh cloth or a fresh washcloth with warm water and lay on the eyes for about five to ten minutes. Please use only once and then put in the laundry. Then massage the lid edge with clean hands or a cotton swab to the eyelashes to free the congested glands from the secretion.
After that, careful eyelid cleaning is important. It is best to take a cleaning solution from the pharmacy and do not use lint-free cotton swabs or pads. To avoid inflammation, all aids must in principle be used only once and not for both eyes together. Dip the cotton into the cleaning solution and then carefully remove the outer eye from encrustations or secretions.