Patient Care

Blepharitis / Meibomitis

What is Blepharitis / Meibomitis?

Blepharitis / Meibomitis is a general term that describes inflammation of the eyelids. This may be due to bacterial colonisation of the lid margins, inflammation of the oil glands on eyelid margins, or both. The lid margins of both the upper and lower eyelids contain a row of oil glands. These oil glands produce oil that coat the surface of the tears to reduce evaporation.

What are the signs & symptoms of Blepharitis / Meibomitis?

If you have Blepharitis / Meibomitis, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Itch
  • Burning sensation
  • Redness and/or swelling of the eyelid margin
  • Eye redness
  • Foreign body sensation (e.g. feeling like there is sand in your eyes)
What are the treatment options for Blepharitis / Meibomitis?

This is a long term problem which cannot be eradicated, but can be controlled with the following measures:

  • Lid hygiene
    Commercial eyelid cleaning solutions are available and can be used to clean the eyelid margins and eyelashes up to twice a day. Diluted baby shampoo (1 part of baby shampoo to 10 parts of warm water) can also be used. Dip a cotton bud in the solution and clean off crust at the eyelids. Wash off shampoo with a wash cloth.
  • Warm compress
    Run a clean face towel, under hot water. Apply to the eyes to warm the eyelids. This increases the temperature of the oil in the glands, liquefying the oil. Thereafter, massage the eyelids to aid in expression of this oily material.
  • Lubricants
    As increased tear evaporation leads to dry eyes, artificial tears are used to reduce discomfort. Ointment based lubricants tend to keep the surface of the eye moist for a longer duration, but may lead to blurred vision. These ointments are useful at night.
  • Antibiotics
    Topical antibiotics can be applied to the eyelids to reduce the bacterial load and hence inflammation. Your ophthalmologist may also choose to start specific oral antibiotics to reduce the bacterial load and inflammation of the eyelids.
  • Anti-inflammatory eye drops
    In severe cases, anti-inflammatory eye drops that contain steroid may be necessary to reduce inflammation. This will prevent excessive damage to the surface of the cornea.
  • Essential fatty acids
    The use of supplements with essential fatty acids have been suggested to improve eye irritation symptoms and promote a healthy tear film on the surface of the eye.

Not all the above may be needed at the same time. Your doctor will perform an assessment and formulate a treatment method for you.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
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