Blepharitis

If your eyelid rims are red and irritated, if they burn and itch or if you've noticed an oily discharge or scaly skin around them, you may have an inflammation called blepharitis. Some people describe it as psoriasis of the eyelids.

Blepharitis may be either of two main types or a combination of them.

Seborrheic blepharitis
Characterized by an excessive discharge of oil/grease from the skin around the eyelids. It is usually accompanied by similarly greasy hair and skin.

Staphylococcal blepharitis
A bacterial infection. It is more likely to result in infective eyelid conditions, such as styes.

Treatments
To treat seborrheic blepharitis, keep the lid edges and surrounding skin clean by regularly scrubbing the area with a mild soap. Your pharmacist or eye care practitioner may be able to supply you with medicated pads specifically designed for this. For staphylococcal blepharitis, ointments containing antibiotics and sulfonimides should be applied to the edges of the eyelids with a cotton ball.

While over-the-counter treatments for blepharitis are available, it is advisable to seek professional help the first time you experience the condition. If you have had blepharitis before and had experience with its treatment, using the over-the-counter ointments may be adequate. But, whether you have had the condition before or not, if the blepharitis is infectious, you should get appropriate treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of having the infection spread and cause more serious conditions.