Blepharitis & Meibomian Gland Disease
Blepharitis is an eye condition characterized by an inflammation of the eyelids which causes redness, itching and irritation. The common eye condition is caused by either a skin disorder or a bacterial infection. Blepharitis is generally not contagious and can affect patients of any age. While it can be very uncomfortable, it usually does not pose any danger to your vision.
There are two types of blepharitis: anterior and posterior.
- Anterior blepharitis occurs on the front of your eyelids in the area where the eyelashes attach to the lid. This form is less common and is usually caused by a bacterial infection or seborrheic dermatitis, which is a skin disorder (dandruff) that causes flaking and itching of the skin on the scalp and eyebrows. While it is more rare, allergies or mites on the eyelashes can also lead to this condition.
- Posterior blepharitis occurs on the inner eyelid that is closer to the actual eyeball. This more common form is often caused by rosacea, dandruff or meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)which affect the production of oil in your eyelids.
Symptoms of Blepharitis
Blepharitis can vary greatly in severity and cause a variety of symptoms which include:
- Red, swollen eyelids
- Burning or gritty sensation
- Excessive tearing
- Dry eyes
- Crusting on eyelids
If left untreated, symptoms can become more severe such as:
- Blurred vision
- Infections and styes
- Loss of eyelashes or crooked eyelashes
- Eye inflammation or erosion, particularly the cornea
- Dilated capillaries
- Irregular eyelid margin
Treatment for Blepharitis
Treatment for blepharitis depends on the cause of the condition but a very important aspect is keeping the eyelids clean. Warm compresses are usually recommended to soak the lids and loosen any crust to be washed away. It is recommended to use a gentle cleaner such as Ocusoft Hypochlor Spray, but Hyclear Hypochlorous Spray is now the ideal choice to clean the area.
HyClear is the next generation of hypochlorous acid for essential daily eyelid health management. With a broad-spectrum of antimicrobial activity from the pure hypochlorous acid .01%, HyClear kills most ocular pathogens in 15 seconds*.
For bacterial infections, antibiotic drops or ointments may be prescribed, and in serious cases steroidal treatment (usually drops) may be used.
Blepharitis is typically a recurring condition so here are some tips for dealing with flare-ups:
- Use an anti-dandruff shampoo when washing your hair
- Massage the eyelids to release the oil from the meibomian glands
- Use artificial tears to moisten eyes when they feel dry
- Consider breaking from use of contact lenses during the time of the flare-up and or switching to daily disposable lenses.
The most important way to increase your comfort with blepharitis is by keeping good eyelid hygiene. We have an in-office procedure to reduce and alleviate blepharitis called BlephEx. It treats Demodex mites. Speak to Dr. Schwartz about which treatment is best for you.
Meibomian Gland Disease
Dry eye is a common ocular condition that can occur for a variety of reasons. A leading cause of dry eye, however, is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD); it affects the essential oil layer of the eye’s tear film, causing tears to evaporate too quickly.
In fact, more than 85% of patients with dry eye symptoms are diagnosed with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction. MGD is chronic condition which, when left untreated, can worsen overtime.
For optimal treatment you first need to be properly diagnosed. Meibography is a non-invasive screening tool that accurately diagnoses MGD and enables Dr. Schwartz to provide effective treatment to relieve dry eye symptoms.
What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD)?
Meibomian glands are located in both your upper and lower eyelids, where they produce complex oily fluid that stabilizes the tear film and slows the evaporation of your tears. This allows the tears to keep your cornea well lubricated for comfortable and clear vision.
When the meibomian glands are either blocked or don’t function optimally, the lipid (fatty) layer of your tear film isn’t rich enough to keep your eyes moist. This causes a rapid evaporation of tears and results in friction between the cornea and eyelids.
Diagnosing Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
If your eyes feel itchy and scratchy, you may have dry eye disease. Visit Hartsdale Family Eyecare, who will perform a thorough clinical exam using a meibography device that utilizes high definition imaging technology. This allows Dr. Schwartz to view the health of your meibomian glands with optimum accuracy. The screening process is quick, efficient, non-invasive and absolutely painless.
How Does Meibography Work?
A meibography visualizes the morphology of the meibomian glands through a series of high-definition digital images. The images allow Dr. Schwartz to observe the architecture of the glands by revealing the gland size, structure, and any structural abnormalities.
Diagnosing MGD with certainty and clarity allows Dr. Schwartz to prescribe the most appropriate treatment to alleviate your painful symptoms.
Can Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Be Treated?
Yes. After diagnosis, Dr. Schwartz will choose from variety of treatments available.
The earlier MGD is detected, the better. If not treated early on, it can cause corneal damage and even vision loss. If you feel eye irritation and suspect you have MGD, contact Hartsdale Family Eyecare today to schedule your appointment.