Blepharitis is an annoying condition causing discomfort and itching of the eyelids.

It is related to seborrhoea (an increased production of grease). Scales and crusts stick to the eyelashes, causing a gritty sensation in the eyes, redness of the lids and loss of the lashes. This can lead to soreness of the eyes, which can then become infected.

Treatment requires a regular routine of lid hygiene which you will need do for months. Persistence will be rewarded, but be aware that the condition can recur, in which case you will need to resume the routine.

The aim of treatment is to remove the scales and crusts which have stuck to the lashes. You can do this by soaking a cotton bud in a solution of sodium bicarbonate (half a teaspoon in a standard teacup). Use the cotton bud to gently scrub the lashes and lid margins. If you prefer, you can use a dilute solution of baby shampoo. Do this morning and nighttime.

If the eyes and/or lids are red and inflamed, you may require an antibiotic ointment from your doctor.

Sometimes the condition affects the glands which secrete the liquid necessary to keep your eyes moist. When this happens the gland openings along the line of the lid closest to your eye become enlarged and inflamed. This kind of blepharitis requires the same lid hygiene, but may also require long term treatment with antibiotics. Heat, applied with a hot flannel can also be useful. The aim is to help the glands to empty, which reduces the swelling and inflammation.

Further information

This article published on
01 August 2005

Next review date 8/1/2013



Areaof the body

Eyes, ears, nose, throat

Male or female?


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