Blepharitis (Flakes on Eyelashes)
Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids, which causes irritation, crusting, itching, redness, tearing, loss of eyelashes, frequent blinking, and dry eyes. The eyelids are composed of skin on the outside and mucous membranes on the inside. Blepharitis can affect both of these tissues. This can start during childhood and continue throughout life as a chronic condition or it may develop later on in life. There are several types, and although they may appear similar, they have distinct characteristics and need to be treated differently.
The most common type is Seborrheic blepharitis, which is characterized by redness of the lids and “dandruff “on the eyelashes, and dandruff around the scalp.
Ulcerative blepharitis is usually a more severe condition caused by bacteria on the eyelids. It creates a matted appearance to the eyelashes or a hard crusting of the eyelashes. This is more likely to involve the white part of the eye causing redness, as well as inflammation to the clear cornea on the front of the eye.
Demodex blepharitis involves small microscopic organisms called Demodex mites. They are found both on the base of the eyelashes and in the glands of the eyelid. Other conditions such as Lice and Dermatitis can look very similar in appearance and cause similar symptoms. These all are treated distinctly and must be diagnosed correctly.
One of the most common complications from blepharitis is the formation of a little “bump” on the eyelids, commonly known as a stye. Although many of these bumps resolve on their own, some are infectious and require an antibiotic to heal properly, while others can be more serious requiring removal and biopsy. All of these “bumps” should be evaluated to determine the cause of the lesion.
If you have any of these symptoms please make an appointment with one of our doctors to further discuss an individualized treatment plan.