Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelash hair follicles or glands in the eyelid . Normally, these glands, microscopic and located next to each eyelash, produce a certain amount of mucus that coats the cornea of the eye and keeps it wet. In blepharitis the glands start overproducing mucus and cause symptoms of itching, burning, tearing, and a crusty material to form on the lids, often worse in the morning.
The eye can become quite red and it is often misdiagnosed as conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Blepharitis also leads to the formation of styes, which are simply plugged up mucus glands that become swollen.
The treatment depends on the severity of symptoms. Mild cases can be treated with only hot compresses to the eyelids several times a day. More severe cases require drops or ointments, either steroid or antibiotic. Remember, blepharitis is an inflammatory process, not an infection, so it cannot be spread. For more information, ask Dr. Gerstenfeld or Dr. Nejat, who both have extensive experience in treating this disease.