• red eyelids

How To Get Rid Of Red Eyelids

Have you ever expe­ri­enced a sore eye­lid or dry, itchy eye­lids that didn’t go away after warm com­press­es, show­er­ing, or care­ful­ly wash­ing the area? If so, you aren’t alone. This con­di­tion, called ble­phar­i­tis, is one of the most com­mon rea­sons besides vision screen or vision prob­lems that send patients to an optometrist or oph­thal­mol­o­gist.


Blepharitis is a Common Eyelid Infection Among Contact Lenses Wearers

Ble­phar­i­tis is pret­ty com­mon as far as eye­lid infec­tion goes. It’s caused by bac­te­ria or fun­gi that infect the edges of the eye­lids. It’s not unusu­al to see it in peo­ple who wear con­tact lens­es and touch their eye­lids a lot as they insert and remove them. Its call­ing card, so to speak, is dry skin on an eye­lid that won’t go away. 

Peo­ple with dry eye prob­lems often devel­op ble­phar­i­tis. The two are relat­ed and it’s not always clear what came first — the dry eye or ble­phar­i­tis. Both occur when the Mei­bo­mi­an glands, that secrete oil to pre­vent tears from dry­ing up, become blocked or oth­er­wise stop func­tion­ing. 

Oth­er peo­ple who are sus­cep­ti­ble to ble­phar­i­tis (regard­less of whether they wear con­tact lens­es or not) include peo­ple who suf­fer from dif­fer­ent types of der­mati­tis that can spread to the face. Ble­phar­i­tis can appear as eczema around the eyes in peo­ple who have the con­di­tion to begin with, as well as those who have rosacea, pso­ri­a­sis, or even dan­druff. It often occurs with pink­eye (con­junc­tivi­tis), which is high­ly con­ta­gious. Ble­phar­i­tis by itself is not con­ta­gious.

Not all eye­lid prob­lems are ble­phar­i­tis. Eye­lid der­mati­tis or a rash around the eye could be caused by a type of eye mite called Demod­ex that typ­i­cal­ly live on the face. When they over­whelm an eye­lid, they pro­duce symp­toms sim­i­lar to ble­phar­i­tis.


Blepharitis Treatment is Provided in a Physician’s Office and at Home

Most ble­phar­i­tis treat­ment is ini­tial­ly done in a physician’s office (usu­al­ly an oph­thal­mol­o­gist) with fol­low-up steps tak­en at home.

While a fam­i­ly doc­tor can treat some eye dis­or­ders, many will refer patients to an oph­thal­mol­o­gist or optometrist because they have bet­ter diag­nos­tic equip­ment for eye prob­lems. This is impor­tant for some­thing that seems as innocu­ous (although irri­tat­ing or even painful) as a per­sis­tent­ly sore eye­lid. 

Remem­ber, there are dif­fer­ent caus­es for ble­phar­i­tis (bac­te­ria, fun­gi) that require dif­fer­ent treat­ment approach­es. What works on bac­te­ria won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly work on fun­gi, which is why doc­tors don’t auto­mat­i­cal­ly pre­scribe antibi­otics for all infec­tions.

An eye­lid scrub is almost always the ini­tial treat­ment for ble­phar­i­tis and Demod­ex mite infes­ta­tion. There are pre­scrip­tion and over-the-counter eye­lid scrubs to treat both. Most doc­tors will deliv­er the ini­tial scrub in the office and send patients home with pre­scrip­tion scrubs or rec­om­mend­ed over-the-counter treat­ments. 

Eyelid Infection


Eyelid Scrubs and Ointments Specifically for Demodex Mites 

Cer­tain eye­lid scrubs are more effec­tive in remov­ing Demod­ex mites and pre­vent­ing them from repro­duc­ing. This is why it’s impor­tant to under­stand what’s caus­ing ble­phar­i­tis: bac­te­ria, fun­gi, or mites. 

Demod­ex mites are noc­tur­nal so it’s impor­tant to con­tain them before they are elim­i­nat­ed. Doc­tors will often pre­scribe an oint­ment to put on the eyes at night to pre­vent them from going to the sur­face (pil­lows, bed­ding) and repro­duc­ing. For this rea­son, we also tell patients with mites to replace linens alto­geth­er and get new pil­lows. 

Apply­ing tea tree oil along the lash lines is an effec­tive way to elim­i­nate mite eggs, lar­vae, and even adult mites. 


Office-Based Blepharitis Treatment Stops Crusty Eyelids and Treats Meibomian Glands

Office treat­ments for ble­phar­i­tis and Demod­ex mites focus on debrid­ing or remov­ing the crust (scurf) from the eye­lids, dead skin, and oth­er detri­tus that accu­mu­lates with eye­lid der­mati­tis and eye­lid infec­tion. They also work on repair­ing clogged or under-per­form­ing Mei­bo­mi­an glands to get the oils float­ing again and relieve dry eye.

  • Eye­lid debrid­ing is per­formed with hand­held devices equipped with microsponges or sil­i­cone tips that spin along the eye­lids and lash­es to remove debris and exfo­li­ate the skin and scurf, the dan­druff-like flakes, or crusts around the eye­lid. A home ver­sion may be pre­scribed as well for patients with chron­ic dry eye.
  • Ther­mal treat­ments gen­tly heat the eye­balls and eye­lids. Some light­ly pal­pate the lids and Mei­bo­mi­an glands to cleanse them, while oth­ers apply heat, fol­lowed by a debrid­ing treat­ment. Some devices deliv­er heat through a mask or gog­gles, while oth­ers require apply­ing and hold­ing a pad over the eye.
  • Intense pul­si­fied light (IPL) ther­a­py devel­oped by der­ma­tol­o­gists has been found to be quite effec­tive in treat­ing Mei­bo­mi­an gland dys­func­tion, reliev­ing dry eye, and get­ting rid of Demod­ex mites. Some IPL ther­a­pies, though, don’t work on peo­ple with dark skin. An alter­na­tive treat­ment is anoth­er hand­held device that slips a pad behind the eye while an out­er pad heats the out­side of the eye. Many oph­thal­mol­o­gists fol­low up with debrid­ing treat­ment as well.

Many doc­tors say ther­mal and light treat­ments both work well to clear out mei­bo­mi­an glands. They may also use a debrid­ing tool in addi­tion to the eye­lid scrub to ful­ly cleanse the eye­lids and lash­es.


Home Care Hygiene Tips to Prevent Further Blepharitis Outbreaks

We all get dry, itchy eye­lids from time to time, and who among us hasn’t wok­en up with crusty eye­lids?

Every health­care provider will tell you that a clean, warm cloth or gauze com­press is the first order of busi­ness to relieve eye itch, sore­ness, and crust. After you’ve had some warmth on your eye­lids for sev­er­al min­utes, use the com­press to gen­tly rub the eye­lid and remove the crust. (Don’t reuse the cloth and keep it sep­a­rate from oth­er laun­dry until you run a load.)

If you’re already being treat­ed for ble­phar­i­tis or dry eye (or you have had past treat­ment), you might have been instruct­ed to clean your eye­lids at least dai­ly. This will cer­tain­ly help pre­vent fur­ther out­breaks, espe­cial­ly if you have a skin con­di­tion like pso­ri­a­sis, rosacea, or eczema. 

Do you have prob­lems with dry eyes or eye crust? Book a free con­sul­ta­tion about treat­ment and pre­ven­tion.

August 11th, 2019|Comments Off on How To Get Rid Of Red Eyelids

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