Inflamed Eyelids

Inflamed eyelids

Expert ophthalmology care to keep your eyes healthy and protect your vision

Eyelid inflammation, or blepharitis, can make your lids red, swollen and itchy. Inflamed eyelids can be uncomfortable and unsightly and if not treated can cause dry eyes, cysts or conjunctivitis.

London Medical offers a daily clinic with leading ophthalmologists and specialist optometry care, so that you can quickly access expert opinion. If your eyelid inflammation is painful and problematic, they can provide expert advice on effective eye care and treatment to soothe your symptoms.

What is blepharitis?

Eye floaters are small dots, lines, squiggles or rings that appear in your vision. They’re common, especially as we grow older and don’t usually indicate anything serious. Floaters are unlikely to be a problem if they’re staying the same, you’ve had them for a long time and your vision is unaffected. Floaters often become less noticeable with time, probably because you get used to their presence. Treatment is only necessary if they are interrupting vision.

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Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelids. It’s a common eye condition in which the lids become red, sore and itchy and crusts can clump at the base of the eyelashes. Blepharitis can be classified into two main types but a significant number of people have a mixture of both:

Anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelids where the eyelashes attach. It can be caused by bacterial infection or can develop secondary to a dandruff-like condition, called seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Posterior blepharitis affects the back of the eyelids, where they touch the eyeball. It can be caused by a skin condition called rosacea or problems with the eyelids’ oil-producing meibomian glands.

Eyelid inflammation is uncomfortable and can look unattractive, however it is not usually contagious and shouldn’t cause permanent damage to your vision.

What are the symptoms of inflamed eyelids?

Eyelid inflammation will make your eyes irritated and itchy. The symptoms often come and go over time. Look out for:

  • Sore, swollen eyelids.
  • Itchy eyes that feel gritty and uncomfortable.
  • Redness of the eyelids and eyes.
  • Scales, flakes or crusts at the root of the eyelashes.
  • Increase tearing or watering.
  • Eyelids sticking together after sleep.

Sometimes, untreated blepharitis can become more severe, particularly if the eyes are touched or rubbed. The eyes can become inflamed, the area can develop a secondary bacterial infection and some eyelashes can fall out. If your eyelid inflammation is affecting your quality of life, the ophthalmologists at London Medical can help treat the problem.

It is important to get assessment within 24 hours, but anyone who is worried about changes in their vision should seek specialist advice. London Medical offers a daily clinic with leading ophthalmologists and optometry care, so that you can quickly access expert opinion.

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Diagnosis of eyelid inflammation at London Medical

The consultant ophthalmologists at London Medical will take a careful medical history, perform a detailed eye examination and consider the effects the symptoms are having on your life.

The specialists are usually able to determine which type of blepharitis is causing your symptoms by a close examination of the eyelid margins, using devices to magnify and illuminate the area. They will also assess the meibomian glands and check there is adequate tear production, before tailoring a comprehensive eyecare programme to treat any infection and reduce inflammation.

Treatment of eyelid inflammation at London Medical

The consultant ophthalmologists will work with you to treat your eyelid inflammation and reduce the risk of symptoms returning. The treatment will depend on the type of blepharitis, the underlying cause, and the severity of the inflammation. However, the key to successful treatment is careful eyelid hygiene and keeping the lids and lashes free from crusts. Treatment may include:

Lifestyle changes: During treatment it’s sensible to limit the use of eye makeup and avoid wearing contact lenses.

Lid hygiene: Keeping the lids clean and clear can help reduce inflammation and prevent blepharitis recurring. Your consultant will provide detailed instructions on the best technique to use. This can include applying warm, damp compresses to loosen any flakes and crusts, then cleansing the eyelids with diluted baby shampoo.

Gland massage: If there is a blockage in the meibomian glands, regular gentle massage with a clean finger can help oil drain and prevent infection. Your specialist will explain the process, which is quick, simple and painless.

Eye lubrication treatment: Artificial tear solutions or lubricating preparations may be prescribed to supplement your natural tear production.

Antibiotics: Topical or oral antibacterial medication will be prescribed for people with evidence of infection.

Treatment of seborrheic dermatitis: Specialist anti-yeast preparations and shampoos may be prescribed to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

Eye hygiene measures should become part of your daily routine to prevent the inflammation returning. Severe, resistant blepharitis may need a more complex treatment plan. The eye clinic will carefully monitor your progress and the staff are always on hand to answer your questions or concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your consultant at London Medical should provide detailed guidance on eye cleaning, but here’s a general overview:

  • Wash your hands carefully before you start.
  • Soak a clean cloth or cotton pad in warm water.
  • Place the compress on your eye to loosen any crusts, this can take up to ten minutes.
  • Gently massage your eyelids for around 30 seconds.
  • Carefully clean the lids using a dilute solution of baby shampoo.
  • Use a clean cotton pad or bud for each eye.
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