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Blepharitis is a common eye condition that can occur at any age and affects the eyelid margins (edges of the eyelids) of either one or both eyes.

Blepharitis, although not contagious, can be unsightly and uncomfortable as eyelids become red, swollen and itchy.

There are three main types:

  • anterior blepharitis – the skin around the base of your eyelashes becomes inflamed
  • posterior blepharitis – inflammation affects your meibomian glands, which are situated behind the base of your eyelashes and along your eyelid margins
  • mixed blepharitis – a combination of the two


In cases of Blepharitis, symptoms tend to be worse in the morning.
Symptoms can include:

  • itchy, sore and red eyelids
  • swollen eyelids
  • eyelids that stick together
  • sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • burning sensation in your eyes
  • blurred vision and contact lens intolerance
  • greasy or crusty eyelashes


Anterior blepharitis can be caused by:

  • a staphylococcus bacteria reaction – these bacteria are present on everyone’s skin and are usually harmless, but they can sometimes cause a reaction and cause inflammation to the eyelids
  • seborrhoeic dermatitis – this skin condition causes irritation of the eyelids through flaky or oily skin and in turn, causes the meibomian glands to block


Posterior blepharitis is caused by a blockage in the meibomian glands, either through skin flakes, debris, or inflammation.

Mixed blepharitis, is due to a mixture of both posterior blepharitis and anterior blepharitis. This form tends to be the most common.


The most important form of treatment in cases of blepharitis is good eyelid hygiene. A consistent routine can stop scarring occurring to the edges of the eyelid and alleviate symptoms.

  • Between one and two times a day you should:
  • clean your eyelids to clear any build-up oil, bacteria, and dust
  • use a warm compress to make the oil in the glands runnier
  • massage your eyelids gently with a cotton bud in order to move the oil from the glands

Our expert clinicians are well situated to help identify the different types of blepharitis and provide advice regarding treatment.

Also, in more severe cases, antibiotics can be prescribed that may come in the form of eye drops, gels, or tablets.

Additionally, if needed, a referral for further specialist consultation is available.

Faheem Ahmed

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Providing NHS services

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158 Oxford Road
Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LA
Contact us at:
01865 689 149

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