The symptoms of Blepharitis vary based on the cause and length of time you’ve had the condition.
The common symptoms you may experience are;
- Crusty debris at the base of the eyelashes
- Itchy eyelids
- Redness under the eyelid
- The feeling something is stuck in your eye (foreign body sensation)
- Finding contact lenses uncomfortable to wear
Since Blepharitis (itis) is an inflammatory condition, symptoms are worse in the morning.
"I only got this recently!" AKA: Acute Presentation
If this is your first, recent episode – symptoms vary based on whether the trigger is bacterial/viral or an allergic reaction.
In the case of an acute infection, there will be an obvious flareup that has recently occurred. Bacterial infections tend to have more yellow crusting compared to a viral infection. If left untreated, small pustules may form along the eyelashes and cause tiny ulcers. This can exacerbate redness and may even cause bleeding in extreme cases. Viral infections (such as Herpes) can also cause ulcers around the eye (like a cold-sore).
In the case of an acute allergic reaction, there will be less crusting, and more itchiness. Eyelids will often be red, and there may also appear to be some swelling around the eyelid. The crust that develops here is more white/grey and usually from natural dried fluids around the eye.
If you’ve recently noticed symptoms, it’s imperative to see your healthcare practitioner. Poorly managed Blepharitis early-on can lead to chronic problems down the track.
Did you know constant ulcers and scarring from recurrent infections can lead to loss of eyelashes? Don’t risk it!
"I've had this condition for a while" AKA: Chronic
Like with most chronic conditions, the longer you’ve had symptoms of blepharitis, the harder it is to treat.
With longstanding Blepharitis, you are more likely to have dry eyes. When eyelids are irritated for a long time, glands around your eyes cannot produce enough oil to prevent your tears from evaporating. This suppresses the ability for these glands to form healthy tears. The glands become blocked up as a result.
Chronic Blepharitis can also cause excessive watering of the eyes. This is again, because of the lack of oil secretions from the glands not working correctly. Dry eyes prompts the body to produce more tears for lubrication. However, the poor quality tears do not do the job!
This then prompts more tears to be produced. Blurriness of vision can result. Longstanding Blepharitis can also be associated with dandruff-like flakes around the eyelashes. These are much easier to remove than the crust associated with bacterial infections.
If chronic Blepharitis is not treated properly, secondary infections and flareups can occur.
Other uncommon symptoms of blepharitis:
With Blepharitis being such a complex condition, others may experience:
- Light sensivitity
- Conjunctivitis – when bacteria enters the eye
- Chalzion – a ‘cyst’ caused by a blocked oil gland
- Stye – infection at base of eyelid
- Loss of eyelashes – due to chronic infection/scarring of eyelid.
- Inflammation of front of eyeball (Keratitis).
Call your doctor or visit Emergency department if you experience any of the following:
- Sudden eye pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Worsening in vision