Chronic, complicated conditions that have multiple causes are frustrating. Being told you have a lifelong condition that will need regular management is a difficult pill to swallow.
Unfortunately, this is what many Blepharitis sufferers have to deal with.
To rid the condition, many have resorted to questionable, expensive treatments. A 'cure' seems all too elusive.
Does a Blepharitis cure exist? Or are weekly eyelid hygiene practices the reality?
The Search for a Cure
Oxford Dictionary defines cure as "providing complete relief of symptoms of a disease or condition". In this context, a cure for Blepharitis would have to provide complete resolution of red, flaky eyes - without requiring ongoing management.
- Inflammatory skin conditions such as Seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea & allergic reactions may be responsible. Treating any relevant underlying skin conditions, and identifying the cause of allergies is essential for a 'cure'.
- Bacteria - If this the primary cause (such as staph), treatment must involve eliminating the bacterial population. Antibiotics may be prescribed by your Doctor.
- Parasites - If Demodex mites are contributing to your Blepharitis, certain ointments and supplements such as tea-tree oil may be required.
It gets tricky when you have one or more of these factors driving your Blepharitis.
Get It Right The First Time
Want to reduce the chance of having a lifelong condition? Exceptional management during the first flareup is imperative.
The first time you notice symptoms, you must seek a prompt diagnosis involving the specific cause. Following this, you must adhere strictly to the management plan. This is how to reduce the likelihood of your Blepharitis becoming chronic.
Let's take a look at why it's bad to wait too long:
If Bacteria is left too long on the eyelid, it forms a shield known as biofilm. This biofilm makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This increases the likelihood of ongoing flareups and irritation in the future. Early, effective management destroys bacteria before it's had a chance to fully colonise the eyelid.
If allergies are causing your Blepharitis - you may have wasted time and money on the wrong treatments. All you had to do was change your diet to avoid foods that were triggering the inflammation.
The cliche - prevention is better than cure rings true once again.
The best chance to prevent a lifelong condition is effective, early-intervention
When Things Become Chronic
"Ok, that's great but I've had my Blepharitis for years".
You're not alone! Since this is not a life or death condition, and due to a lack of awareness, most people don't get this early management.
When things become chronic (i.e. long term), they become more complicated. For example the initial inflammation of the skin could cause a secondary bacterial infection. Or persistent inflammation around the eyes can block up Meibomian glands that cause dry eyes.
So, does a 'cure' for Blepharitis exist when symptoms become chronic? These complications throw a spanner into the works, making it less likely to have 'one solution'. It also means the prognosis will be much longer.
Yet, just because Blepharitis is complicated, doesn't make it impossible. Late is better than never.
The priority should still be seeking the care of a good opthamologist to identify the cause(s).
Initially it may involve:
Months of diligent eyelid hygiene,
Prescription medication from the doctor,
Reassessing diet (Omega 3s)
Changing environmental factors (Dry climate, excessive computer use)
In these early stages, you need to treat your eyes like you would your teeth. Clean twice a day, while seeing the doctor for a check-up. Not adhering to a strict schedule will result in ongoing symptoms.
After many months, improvements should be noticed. This may be due to glands being unblocked, bacteria removed and inflammation settled. As supervised by your doctor, treatments can be spaced out. Eventually, involving only a few sessions of cleaning a month.
Blepharitis is a complicated condition caused by many factors. Because of this, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' cure that provides sustainable relief. The best chance of 'curing' Blepharitis is effective, early management from an ophthalmologist. Ideally this occurs the first time you notice symptoms.
Once the condition becomes chronic, it becomes more complex. Months of diligent treatment based on the cause(s) of your Blepharitis can result in resolution of symptoms over the long-term. For sustainable relief, occasional eyelid hygiene practices are often a reality.
PS -While a Blepharitis cure may not exist, that doesn't mean you need to spend hours scrubbing eyelids. Register for the BondiEyes Early-bird special.