One of the most common eye problems in older adults is a skin condition called blepharitis. It is often caused by bacteria (usually staphylococcus) or related to a long-term (chronic) skin condition, such as dandruff, skin allergies, or eczema. If you have blepharitis, you are more likely to get styes.
Symptoms of blepharitis include redness, irritation, itchiness, and scaliness at the edges of the eyelids. The scales may be dry or greasy. Also, eyelashes may fall out.
To diagnose this condition, the doctor will examine your eye, eyelid, and eyelashes with an instrument called an ophthalmoscope.
Blepharitis often requires treatment. You may need to take antibiotics for some types of blepharitis. Call your doctor if:
Regular hygiene can help you avoid blepharitis and prevent recurrences. Wash your eyelids, eyebrows, and hair daily with baby shampoo.
To wash your eyelids, put a few drops of shampoo in a cup of water, and dip a cotton ball, cotton swab, or soft face cloth in the solution. With your eyes closed, gently wipe each eyelid about 10 times horizontally away from your nose, across the lashes. Rinse well with clear water before opening your eyes.
Or, if you take a shower, let warm water from the showerhead run over your closed eyes for a minute. Then put a few drops of shampoo on a face cloth and use it to scrub the lashes similar to the cotton ball method. Rinse the shampoo away.
|Canadian Ophthalmological Society|
|610-1525 Carling Avenue|
|Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R9|
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society is an association of eye doctors dedicated to helping the public take good care of their eyes and vision. This group provides educational information on eye conditions and diseases and eye safety.
|P.O. Box 7424|
|San Francisco, CA 94120-7424|
EyeSmart is a public information Web site provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It provides general information and brochures on eye conditions and diseases and low-vision resources and services.
|National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health|
|31 Center Drive MSC 2510|
|Bethesda, MD 20892-2510|
As part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the National Eye Institute provides information on eye diseases and vision research. Publications are available to the public at no charge. The Web site includes links to various information resources.
Other Works Consulted
- American Academy of Ophthalmology (2008). Blepharitis. Preferred Practice Patterns. San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Available online: http://one.aao.org/CE/PracticeGuidelines/PPP_Content.aspx?cid=080ac46b-ea4d-4556-893a-2a63ba87ffcd.
- Jackson WB (2008). Blepharitis: Current strategies for diagnosis and management. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, 43(2): 170–179. Also available online: http://article.pubs.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/RPAS/rpv?hm=HInit&calyLang=eng&journal=cjo&volume=43&afpf=i08-016.pdf.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology|
|Last Revised||April 13, 2011|
Last Revised: April 13, 2011
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