Blepharitis And Its Treatment

Published: 14th April 2010
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One of the most common eye problems in older adults is a skin condition called blepharitis . In severe cases, it may also cause styes , irritation and inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva. Inflammation happens when the body tries to fight an injury or infection and the specific area tends to look swollen and sore. Some patients have no symptoms at all. Blepharitis usually affects both eyes on the edge of the eyelids and although rarely serious, it can be an uncomfortable, persistent and irritating problem.

Blepharitis can also cause other conditions that are more serious than the blepharitis itself. One of the conditions that can be caused by blepharitis is a sty. These are lumps that are in the eyelid and can be in either the top or lower eyelid. It can be a very painful condition. It can also irritate the cornea, which is the front covering of the eye and helps the eye to focus. Another condition that can be caused by blepharitis is conjunctivitis. This is an infection of the outer layer of the eye and can be very contagious.

The eyelid has an interesting and intricate structure. Packed close together near the eyelid margin are a variety of different components. The eyelashes are obvious. Less so are microscopic oil and sweat glands located next to each eyelash root. In a separate layer slightly nearer to the eye is a line of different oil producing glands. These are called "meibomian glands". There are about 20 in each lid. They are tiny vertical streaks arranged side by side and perpendicular to the lid edge.

Blepharitis that affects the outer portion of the eyelid (where the eyelashes are attached) is known as anterior blepharitis. When the inside of the eyelid is affected (the part against the eyeball) then it is termed as posterior blepharitis.

In the past the treatment of Blepharitis has concentrated on three approaches:

1.removal of greasy and scaly crusting along the eyelids

2.antibiotic treatment of bacterial inflammation

3.prevention with regular eyelid hygiene wipes

There have been many difficulties using detergent, antibiotic, preservative and hot flannel based treatments. They can be frustratingly ineffective and often destabilise the already weakened tear film by destroying its most essential oily layer.

For patients who do not respond to the above medicines, a special procedure called 'Akshi-Tarpan' is used in addition to the medicines mentioned above. A paste is applied around the eyes and warm, medicated oil or ghee is poured inside in such a way that the entire eye is submerged in the medication for some time. The duration for this procedure is adjusted according to the severity of the condition. After a specified time, the medicine is drained out, the surrounding paste is removed, and the eyes are cleaned.

Oral antibiotics like tetracycline, vibramicyne, metronidaole as well as local antibiotics like metronidazole cream or gel beastly handle pustular and papular Rosacea. Metronidazole can also reduce redness and teleangiectasia but can induce burning sensations to some patients. For pregnant women it can be replaced with clyndamicine as it produces fetus malformations.

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