Eyelid Inflammation (Blepharitis) (cont.)
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What Are Blepharitis Medical Treatments?
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The cornerstone of therapy is good eyelid hygiene.
A doctor may prescribe one of several topical antibiotics (each physician has his or her own preferences) if your ophthalmologist or primary-care physician believes that you have an infectious form of blepharitis. Often, doctors may also prescribe antibiotic-steroid combinations. Occasional blurriness of vision may occur after eyedrops or ointments are placed in your eyes. This should clear up quickly with blinking. Ointments may also be used. However, they may cause blurring of vision.
Never use other people's eyedrops or medications. Occasionally, antibiotic drops or ointments that contain cortisone are used. If any cortisone drops or ointments are used, they should not be used for prolonged periods of time since they might cause glaucoma in susceptible individuals. These medications should never be used without the supervision of an ophthalmologist. Relatively recently, a topical cyclosporine drop has proved its efficacy in some patients. Massage of the lids several times a day may help empty the glands of the lid.
Resistant cases of infectious blepharitis may need a prolonged course of oral antibiotics (in addition to ointments such as tetracyclines or azithromycin).
Sensitivity to the topical or systemic medications may occur. If so, check with the prescribing physician or optometrist.
Recently, there has been interest in using omega-3 fatty acids in pill form for treatment of blepharitis and dry eye.
Allergic blepharitis appears similar to bacterial blepharitis and is treated with steroid (or antibiotic-steroid) eyedrops for a short period of time.
What Is the Prognosis of Blepharitis? How Can People Prevent Blepharitis?
Blepharitis usually responds well to treatment. Your ophthalmologist will monitor your response to therapy on a periodic basis. Usually one visit is sufficient, with additional exams carried out only if it doesn't respond adequately to the treatment.
If dandruff is present, this must be treated with special shampoos.
If blepharitis is caused by an allergy at home or at work, simply avoiding the allergen (for example, a dog or cat) may avoid future problems. Steroid drops, by themselves or in combination with an antibiotic, may be prescribed.
In infants, the cause of the blepharitis may be a blocked tear duct. This is treated with gentle massage of the lids several times a day. In stubborn cases, the block might have to be opened with a special probe.
Long-term eyelid care may be necessary to prevent a recurrence of blepharitis. This may involve a combination of lid scrubs and medications.
If blepharitis is especially persistent and resistant to treatment, additional treatment with systemic medications (as mentioned above) may be necessary. It is important to rule out a malignancy in or near the eyelids.
If a patient who is scheduled to have eye surgery develops blepharitis, the surgery is usually postponed until after the blepharitis is treated.
Where Can People Get More Information About Blepharitis?
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/7/2017
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