Do you often wake up with sticky and crusty deposits on your eyelids? Do you often experience regular redness and irritation in your eyes or eyelids? Are you frequently plagued with sties? Then there is a high chance that you may be suffering from Blepharitis.
Blepharitis is a rather severe inflammation of the eyelid margins in which the edges of your eyelids become red and swollen. This condition is often caused by clogged oil pores in your eyelids or other skin conditions such as rosacea and others.
A major factor responsible for this condition can be poor hygiene, especially if you have sensitive or oily skin. If left untreated, blepharitis can lead to frequent bouts of chronic pink eye or conjunctivitis and dry eyes. (1)
Continue reading below to learn about the causes and symptoms of this condition, along with how to treat blepharitis with simple home remedies.
- Causes of Blepharitis
- Symptoms of Blepharitis
- Preventing Blepharitis
- Home Remedies to Get Rid of Blepharitis
- Method 1: Warm Compress
- Method 2: Tea Tree Oil
- Method 3: Manuka Honey
- Method 4: Castor Oil
- Method 5: Hand Wipes
- Method 6: Baby Shampoo
- Method 7: Coconut Oil
- Tips to keep in mind
Causes of Blepharitis
- Bacterial infection or overgrowth of skin bacteria
- Staph infection
- Clogged or blocked oil glands in the eyelids
- Skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis
- Seborrheic dermatitis, i.e., dandruff affecting the scalp and eyebrows
- Hormonal imbalance
- Allergies, particularly to certain cosmetic products, contact lenses, or contact lens solutions
- Demodex or eyelash mites
Symptoms of Blepharitis
The symptoms of blepharitis include: (1)
- Watery or red eyes
- Red and swollen eyelids
- Sensitivity to light or photophobia
- Blurred vision
- An itching or burning sensation in the eye
- Crusty eyelashes
- Sticky eyelids
- Dry eyes
- Flaky skin around the eyes and eyelids
The following are the preventive tips to be kept in mind: (2)
- Blepharitis is not curable; however, with proper precautions and care, its symptoms and resultant complications can be kept under check.
- Wash your face at night before going to bed and make sure that your eyelids and eyelashes are clean.
- Make sure to carefully remove your eye makeup at night before going to sleep no matter how tired you are.
- If you are experiencing early symptoms of blepharitis, avoid doing any eye makeup at all.
- Replace all contaminated makeup products to prevent reoccurrence of blepharitis.
- If you are already suffering from blepharitis and experiencing any irritation or itching sensation in the eyes, avoid rubbing your eyes at any cost as it may lead to further contamination.
- Use an effective anti-dandruff shampoo to eliminate your scalp dandruff to prevent it from falling on your eyelashes and causing further breakouts.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses until the symptoms have cleared up, maintain proper hygiene, and keep your lenses clean to avoid future complications.
- Most makeup products that have direct contact with the eyes and eyelids should be replaced every month to promote the healthiest eye hygiene.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Blepharitis
Meet with your healthcare provider or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) if you experience any of the symptoms described above for proper diagnosis.
If it is not a severe infection requiring antibiotic treatment, here are home remedies that can be used to treat and get rid of blepharitis.
Method 1: Warm Compress
Applying a warm compress to your swollen eyelids helps treat Blepharitis by warming up and loosening the blockage in the oil glands and the crusty deposits over your eyelids. (3)
This makes it easier to clean your eyelids and remove all the accumulated pus and discharge from your eyes. You can use a clean piece of flannel, a sterile cotton ball, or pad as a warm compress.
You can also get reusable heating pads from your optometrist and heat them in a microwave for multiple applications.
Step 1. Soak the flannel cloth in hot water
- Fold a clean piece of flannel to make a compress.
- Soak it in a bowl of hot water.
- Squeeze out excess moisture.
Step 2. Apply warm compress
- Take the warm compress and gently apply to the edge of the affected eyelid for 5–10 minutes.
- Repeat the procedure on the second eye; make sure you use a separate flannel cloth for each eye.
- You can now clean your eyes using an antibiotic solution or wipes.
Apply warm compresses 4 times a day for 5–10 minutes each time for around 1–2 weeks. You will experience relief from symptoms within a few days of regular application.
Method 2: Tea Tree Oil
The antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil make it the most effective remedy for treating blepharitis. This essential oil also helps reduce the inflammation in your eyes and is also particularly efficient at killing demodex mites.
Mix 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of any carrier oil and pour the mix in a bowl. It can be olive, castor, or coconut oil. This oil will also help moisturize the flaky eyelids and reduce inflammation. (4)
Things you’ll need:
- Tea Tree Oil (antimicrobial) – 3 to 4 drops
- Olive Oil (carrier) – 2 tablespoons
Step 1. Dilute tea tree oil in olive oil
- Add 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil to a small bowl of olive oil (2 tablespoons).
- Mix well.
Step 2. Apply the oil on eyelids with a cotton ball
- Dip a sterile cotton ball into the oil blend.
- Close your eyes and use the soaked cotton ball to gently clean and wipe over one eyelid.
- Discard it after one use.
- Take a fresh cotton ball and dip it in the tea tree-shampoo mix to clean the other eyelid. Discard the cotton ball after one use.
- Leave it on for 1 to 2 minutes and then wash off with cold water.
Repeat twice daily till the infection clears up. The infection will be visibly reduced after 2 to 3 days of consistent application.
Method 3: Manuka Honey
Manuka honey contains hydrogen peroxide along with methylglyoxal (MG), a substance that enhances its infection-fighting properties, making it a powerful antibacterial agent. It is also an effective remedy to treat Impetigo.
Apart from fighting infections, this thick and viscous honey also helps retain moisture in your eyelids, thereby preventing your eyelids from becoming dry and flaky.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply Manuka honey on infected eyelids
- Get the most potent Manuka honey that you can.
- Dip a clean and sterile Q-tip in some Manuka honey and spoon up a decent amount.
- Apply over the infected eyelid, coating the full length of the eyelid. Discard after use.
- Use a fresh Q-tip to apply Manuka honey over the other eyelid and then discard it.
- Leave the honey on for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash off.
- Alternatively, you can also do this before going to bed and leave it on overnight.
Do this 2 times daily, once in the morning and then again at night to treat blepharitis. You will see positive results within a week of regular application.
Method 4: Castor Oil
Castor oil is a wondrous remedy to treat blepharitis as it provides quick relief from inflammation, redness, irritation, burning sensation, and pain in your eyes and eyelids.
Its actions are three-fold as castor oil moisturizes your eyelids while regulating your malfunctioning Meibomian glands, reduces swelling, and also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help it fight the infection in your eyelids.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply castor oil on the infected eyelids
- Dip a cotton ball in some hexane-free castor oil.
- Gently apply it over your closed eyelid and the surrounding area.
- Use a fresh cotton ball to apply castor oil on your other eye.
Do this once daily at night and leave the oil on for the entire night whenever your blepharitis symptoms flare up. You will find quick relief from pain and inflammation within 1 to 2 days.
Method 5: Hand Wipes
Wet Ones antibacterial hand wipes have been endorsed by many for self-treatment of blepharitis. These wet wipes contain benzethonium chloride and are highly effective at eliminating bacteria while feeling gentle on your skin.
They can be used to delicately remove any matted discharge or debris, sticking to the eyelids and eyelashes.
Single-Step Treatment: Clean infected eyelids with hand wipes
- Take a hand wipe and slide it over your infected eyelid; start from the inside slowly move outward, gently cleansing your eyelids as you move.
- Use a fresh hand wipe to clean each eyelid and the surrounding areas. Be extremely careful and perform this procedure with a light hand; do not scrub your eyelids on any account as doing so will only inflame the eyelids further.
- Use this technique to clean both your upper and lower eye margins, respectively. Then splash your face with fresh water to remove any remaining residue from the hand wipes.
Do this 3 to 4 times daily in case of severe infection and inflammation; as your symptoms start disappearing, use hand wipes twice daily and finally once a day.
As a precautionary measure, you can also use these wipes to clean your eyelids once every 3 days or every week.
Method 6: Baby Shampoo
No-tear baby shampoos are designed to be gentle and non-allergic to baby skin. Therefore, they represent a mild product that can most definitely be used to clean swollen eyelids without causing any damage.
Go to your optometrist and get a recommendation for non-stinging baby shampoo and mix it with water to softly remove all the infected debris and crusted material from your eyes.
Applying a warm compress to your eyes can help loosen up the oil glands and the infectious residue for better cleaning.
Step 1. Mix tear-free baby shampoo in warm water
- Pour 1/4 cup of hot water in a small glass bowl and let it cool down a little.
- Check the temperature; the water should be warm, not boiling hot.
- Add 4 to 5 drops of non-stinging or tear-free baby shampoo to the water.
- Stir and mix well.
Step 2. Clean your eyelids with Q-tips soaked in this solution
- Dip a clean Q-tip into this solution for a few seconds and then use it to gently cleanse your eyes.
- Move the Q-tip over your eyelids, moving outward from the tear ducts; repeat until the eyelids have been completely cleared.
- Use a fresh Q-tip and use it to clean the other eyelid as described above.
Do this once or twice daily until the symptoms of blepharitis completely disappear. The flare-up should begin to clear up within 2 to 3 days of regular application.
Method 7: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids that help your skin retain moisture and prevent dry eyes. Coconut oil is rich in nutrients and consequently is most effective in restoring your eye health, along with reducing the pain and inflammation that arise in case of a severe breakout.
The variety that you are supposed to use is pure virgin coconut oil. Read the label carefully to make sure that there are no other ingredients in the coconut oil you intend to use to treat blepharitis.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply coconut oil on the inflamed eyelids
- Soak a clean cotton ball in some pure virgin coconut oil and apply it on your red or swollen eyelid.
- Discard and use a fresh cotton ball to apply coconut oil on the other eye as well.
- Leave the oil on for 20 minutes and then wash off by splashing cold water over your eyes and gently pat dry using a clean flannel cloth.
Do this at least 2 to 3 times a day to control and alleviate the symptoms of blepharitis.
Tips to keep in mind
- Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to alleviate the symptoms of blepharitis. Consuming fish such as salmon, herring, lake trout, and mackerel 1 to 4 times a week can help prevent blepharitis flare-ups. (5)
- Use good-quality makeup products, especially for your eyes. Do not share your makeup or makeup brushes with others and clean them regularly.
- Get an allergy test done to find out and determine all your allergies.
- Clean your eyes and eyelids before going to bed at night and clean them again in the morning, removing all crusted debris to avoid infection.
- In case of a severe and persistent infection, get prescriptions for antibiotic eye washes and eye creams from your eye doctor.
- Maintain eye hygiene even when there are no flare-ups to keep the symptoms of blepharitis under control.
- Massaging your eyelids is another great way to control blepharitis and prevent the clogging of oil glands. Take your ring finger and gently massage your eyelids for 5 minutes every night to keep the oil glands functioning properly.
- Be careful while using contact lenses, always remove them before going to bed at night and clean them properly with lens solution before putting them in.
- If you have persistent dandruff, take steps to cure it; use anti-dandruff hair masks and oils to treat your scalp and prevent dandruff from falling on and infecting your eyelashes.
- Never ever pop a sty or attempt to pop a cyst as the fluid released can spread the infection further.
- Putnam CM. Diagnosis and management of blepharitis: an optometrist's perspective | OPTO. Clinical Optometry. https://www.dovepress.com/diagnosis-and-management-of-blepharitis-an-optometristrsquos-perspecti-peer-reviewed-article-OPTO. Published August 8, 2016.
- Benitez-Del-Castillo JM. How to promote and preserve eyelid health. Clinical ophthalmology (Auckland, N.Z.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3484726/. Published 2012.
- Lindsley K, Matsumura S, Hatef E, Akpek EK. Interventions for chronic blepharitis. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592706. Published May 16, 2012.
- Maher TN. The use of tea tree oil in treating blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction. Oman journal of ophthalmology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29563688. Published 2018.
- Ahmed STS. Oral linolenic acid dietary supplementation in posterior blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction. Delta Journal of Ophthalmology. http://www.djo.eg.net/article.asp?issn=1110-9173;year=2017;volume=18;issue=2;spage=51;epage=56;aulast=Saif;type=0. Published 2017.
Summary of How to Get Rid of Blepharitis
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