So maybe you've been lazy, or on holidays and haven't maintained your proper cleaning regime. One day you wake up and you notice you look like an extra from 28 days later.
Fear not! These 6 steps will help you get your flareup under control.
1) See A Doctor
Depending on the cause, certain medications may offer you the best short-term relief. Antibiotics, steroid creams and eye drops can all help reduce the inflammation ASAP.
Doctors can prescribe the most appropriate medications, while also help ruling out any other causes of your flareup. So don't be shy - use your Doctor's expertise for the best early management.
If your General Practitioner believes the flareup is too complicated, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist.
Ophthalmologists specialise in treating complex eye conditions. This means they offer a more comprehensive management plan tailored to your condition. Ophthalmologists are able to conduct an extensive examination using specialist equipment. They also have access to cleaning devices to clean the inner eyelid margin. This can help eliminate bacteria, biofilm and mites that may be causing the flareup.
2) Remove ALL Crust (Gently)
There is no point using drops, or even ointments if there is crust buildup along your eyelid margin. This debris must be removed for your symptoms to improve.
I recall once I was prescribed steroid drops for my conjunctivitis. But as my conjunctivitis was secondary to my Blepharitis, they had little effect. It wasn't until I debrided the crust that my conjunctivitis improved.
Take care not to pick at crust with too much force. Instead use warm compress to loosen up the debris prior to scrubbing. This also unblocks Meibomian glands to improve dry eye symptoms.
If the eyes are irritated after cleaning, it might be worth using cold compress or drops to reduce inflammation for a short period of time.
As itchy as your eyes might get, avoid rubbing your eyes. This can cause additional bacteria to enter the eyes. Opt for the cool pack instead.
3) Fix Your Diet (Temporarily at least)
Quit booze or anything else that is known to increase inflammation. Say good-bye to sugary drinks or processed foods until things settle.
If your symptoms are worse when eating, seeing an allergist may help. They can conduct tests to narrow down which foods are contributing to ongoing inflammation.
A nutritionist or dietitian can also help you build a gameplan around healthy eating. Having a tailored strategy that incorporates meal prep and home cooked meals may be a gamechanger.
Omega 3 supplements, such as Flaxseed oil capsules or fish oil capsules have been shown to improve gland function around the eye.
Natural fatty acids, such as those found in Avocados should also be considered. Avocados contains lutein, which is a naturally-occurring plant pigment that protects eye health. It also fends off the damaging effects of UV light.
Putting effort into adopting healthy habits is one of the best investments you can make. Aside from feeling better and having tons more energy, it may also settle down your eyes!
4) Consider Changing Your Environment
Your environment may be playing a significant role in your Blepharitis flareup. While it may not be the cause of your eye problems, they can exacerbate your symptoms.
If you're having a flareup, break up periods of computer use or mobile use where possible. Staring at screens for hours means we don't blink our eyes as much. By not blinking, the glands are not being stimulated and dry eyes and inflammation can result.
If you must to use the computer for extended times, consider lowering the monitor below eye level. This prevents your eyes from being totally exposed. It may also be worth your time to consciously perform blinking exercises every hour.
Excessive air conditioning can also dry the skin. Consider investing in a humidifier to help maintain the right levels of humidity. If you're feeling a bit creative, try boiling water and disperse the steam throughout the rooms. But I wouldn't recommend this at work!
Be mindful that dry, windy climates can also exacerbate your Blepharitis flareup. Allergies are also more prominent during changing of the seasons. It might be worth spending more time indoors until your eyes settle.
5) Moisturise Around The Eyes
Ensuring the skin around your eyes is soft and smooth will help settle your Blepharitis flareup.
When we scrub our eyes, along with bacteria, we also remove natural oils that keep the skin healthy. It's important to revitalise the skin with moisturiser. This prevents ongoing dryness and irritation.
I use QV intensive cream after scrubbing. QV helped reduce the flakiness around my eyelid.
Be sure to find a cream that is dermatologically tested, and don't put the cream too close to your eyelid. The aim is to moisturise the skin around the eyelid - not the eyelid margin!
6) Avoid Contact Lenses and Makeup
Wearing glasses is recommended until things settle. Wearing contact lenses during a flareup, can cause bacteria to stick to the lenses. This can lead to 'pink-eye' symptoms, and spreading the infection.
If you have light-sensitivity - photochromic glasses may be comfortable than regular glasses in the interim. These are the lenses that darken when you go outside.
If you cannot go without your contact lenses, using daily disposable contacts is the next best alternative.
Going easy on the makeup is strongly recommended as well, particularly eye-liner. Eye-liner applied to the eyelid margin blocks the glands, and residue can travel into the tear duct. This is pouring gas on fire if you already have an inflamed eyelid!
Pro-tip - Replace old makeup applicators that could be carrying bacteria.
If you must use makeup for an upcoming social event - opt for brands that use less synthetic waxes and parabens. These materials interfere with the oil glands and can worsen dry eye symptoms.
According to Sarah Darbandi, MD - primers help prevent the residue from makeup entering the tear film.
Following these six steps will help ease your Blepharitis flareup.
But, it goes without saying, prevention is better than cure!