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What Is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid, causing it to become red, irritated and itchy. Dandruff-like scales can also form on the eyelid. Blepharitis can develop in two areas of the eyelid:

  • Anterior — Develops along the edge at the base of the eyelashes
  • Posterior — Occurs along the inner edge that touches the eyeball

Bacteria on the face and eyelids is common, but when it becomes excessive, it can cause anterior blepharitis. Typically, posterior blepharitis develops when eyelid glands produce too much oil, making it easier for bacteria to develop. Scalp dandruff can be associated with  anterior and posterior blepharitis.


Blepharitis can affect people of all ages. Symptoms depend on the type of blepharitis and can range from mild burning and itching, to dry eyes and crusty eyelids, to blurry vision and inflamed tissue. 

  • Staphylococca blepharitis can cause sticking eyelids, thickening along the edge and missing eyelashes.
  • Seborrheic blepharitis causes mildly red eyelids and greasy flakes or scales at the eyelash base.
  • Ulcerative blepharitis causes hard, matted crusts along the eyelash base, with oozing sores under the crusts. It can also cause excessive tears and in severe cases, the cornea becomes inflamed.
  • Meibomian blepharitis occurs when oil glands in the eyelids become blocked, causing poor quality tears and redness in the eyelid inner lining.

Treatment Options

Blepharitis isn't contagious and usually clears up by keeping the eyelids clean and crust free. Treatment depends on the type of blepharitis and may include:

  • Loosening crusts by applying warm compresses to your eyes
  • Gently scrubbing eyelids with a mix of water and non-irritating shampoo (such as baby shampoo) or an over-the-counter product recommended by your doctor
  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Artificial tear solutions or lubricating ointments prescribed by your doctor
  • Anti-dandruff shampoo on your scalp
  • Limiting use of eye makeup during treatment
  • Discontinuing wearing contact lenses during treatment

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of blepharitis, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat blepharitis.