Eye Health | Optical Centre Smartbuyglasses UK

Blepharitis and Stress

What Is Blepharitis of the Eye

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It's a common cause of sore red eyelids or crusty eyelashes.

This condition may also cause burning, itching, or a grainy sensation when introducing foreign objects or substances to the eye. Although blepharitis is not sight-threatening, it can lead to permanent alterations of the eyelid margin.

Eyelid inflammation is very common; In a survey of American ophthalmologists and optometrists, eye doctors reported that 37% and 47% of their respective patients had experienced blepharitis symptoms at some point in their lives.

This survey also found that younger people reported more (and more frequent) blepharitis symptoms than older people, which contradicted conventional wisdom about eyelid inflammation.

Luckily, eye doctors are able to prescribe effective blepharitis treatments that can limit the eyelid inflammation before serious damage occurs to your eyes or eyelids.


What Causes Blepharitis?

Most of the time, blepharitis occurs when there is too much bacteria on your eyelids at the base of your eyelashes. Having bacteria on your skin is normal, but too much bacteria can cause problems. You can also get blepharitis if the oil glands in your eyelids get clogged or irritated.


However, there are several other possible causes of blepharitis, including:

  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)

  • Dry eyes

  • Fungal eyelid infection

  • Parasites (Demodex eyelash mites)

Blepharitis and dry eyes often occur at the same time, causing confusion whether dry eye causes blepharitis or blepharitis causes dry eye.


Blepharitis and Stress

A recent study in the journal Cornea found sleep quality (or a lack of which, which indirectly aggravates stress, anxiety and depression) may play an important role in the development of dry eyes. Blepharitis, which as noted, is associated with dry eyes, can result in redness of the eyes, burning, itching, a feeling of eyestrain and even blurred vision.


Blepharitis Symptoms

The most common symptoms of blepharitis are:

  • Burning or stinging eyes

  • Crusty debris at the base of eyelashes

  • Irritated, watery eyes

  • Itchy eyelids

  • Grittiness or a foreign body sensation

  • Pink-eye or conjunctivitis

Depending on the severity of blepharitis, you may have some or all of these symptoms, and blepharitis symptoms may be intermittent or constant. In some cases, blepharitis also causes loss of eyelashes (madarosis). Blepharitis is also a common cause of contact lens discomfort, forcing many people to give up on wearing contacts.


There are two main types of blepharitis:

Anterior blepharitis is commonly caused by bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis) or dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows (seborrheic blepharitis). These bacteria are commonly found on the face and lids, but if they become excessive, or the lid area reacts poorly to their presence, an infection may occur. Less commonly, allergies or a mite infestation of the eyelashes can cause anterior blepharitis.

Posterior blepharitis can occur when the glands of the eyelids irregularly produce oil (meibomian blepharitis). This creates a favorable environment for bacterial growth. Posterior blepharitis can also develop as a result of other skin conditions, such as rosacea and scalp dandruff.


Blepharitis From Eyelash Extensions

It is possible to get blepharitis from eyelash extensions, however we’ve compiled a few preventative tips to try and prevent this. Obviously, the easiest way to avoid the dangers of fake eyelashes and to prevent the risk of infection is just to avoid getting eyelash extensions in the first place. However, if you are set on them, just make sure you are cleaning them at least twice daily.

Mascara remains a much safer way to achieve thicker and fuller lashes. It can be difficult if you feel your normal lashes are too small or thin, but it is better than the alternative permanent damage to your eyes that blepharitis can cause. If you’re looking for something more semi-permanent you can also consider an eyelash lift or lash tint.

If you decide to pursue eyelash extensions, make them an occasional beauty treat to reduce your risks in the long term.


How to Treat Blepharitis

Routine washing of the eyelids helps subdue symptoms and prevent blepharitis. Washing each eyelid for 30 seconds, twice a day, with a single drop of hypoallergenic soap (e.g. baby shampoo) and ample water can help. The most effective treatment, however, is over-the-counter lid scrubs used twice a day. Some doctors may recommend using a hypochlorous acid treatment depending on the severity.

If you’ve found this article useful and are interested in reading more about eye health in our Optical Centre, click here. To find out more about another eye condition, watery eyes, click here.

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