Blepharitis is a common, persistent inflammation of
the eyelids. Symptoms include irritation, itching, and occasionally, a red eye.
This condition frequently occurs in people who have a tendency towards oily
skin, dandruff, or dry eyes.
Bacteria normally reside on everyone's skin, but in
some people they thrive in the skin at the base of the eyelashes. Nearby oil
glands may be overactive, causing dandruff-like scales and particles to form
along the lashes and eyelid margins, which can cause redness, stinging or
Lid margin disease may not be cured, but it can be
controlled with a few simple daily hygienic measures:
At least twice a day,
place a warm, wet washcloth over the closed eyelids for a minute. Rewet it as
it cools, two or three times. This will soften and loosen scales and debris.
More importantly, it helps liquefy the oily secretions from the eyelids' oil
glands that help prevent the development of a chalazion, an inflamed lump in an
eyelid oil gland.
With your finger
covered with a thin washcloth, cotton swab, or commercial lint-free pad, gently
scrub the base of the lashes about 15 seconds per lid.
When medications are necessary, they may
Artificial tears to
relieve symptoms of dry eye. (These are eye drops that are available without a
Antibiotics (oral or
topical) to decrease bacteria on the eyelids.
(short-term) to decrease inflammation.
Medications alone are not sufficient; the application
of warmth and detailed cleansing of the lashes daily is the key to controlling
lid margin disease.
How Are Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Opticians
(Eye M.D.s) are different from optometrists and opticians in their training and
in what they can diagnose and treat.
medical doctor, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and
surgery. He or she diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery,
and prescribes and fits glasses and contact lenses.
- 4 years of college;
- 4 years of
- 1 year of internship;
- 3 years,
at least, of residency (hospital-based training) in the diagnosis and medical
and surgical treatment of eye disorders.
four years of college and eight additional years of medical education and
training, an ophthalmologist must pass a rigorous examination given by the
American Board of Ophthalmology.
all ophthalmologists specialize in eye problems and can treat all conditions,
some decide to concentrate in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care.
These doctors are called subspecialists. They usually complete a fellowship,
which is one or two more years of training in the chosen area. Some
subspecialists focus on the treatment of a disease, such as glaucoma. Others
subspecialize in a particular part of the eye such as the retina. Pediatric
ophthalmologists subspecialize in treating eye disease in children.
is a doctor of optometry, licensed to practice optometry. Optometrists
determine the need for glasses and contact lenses, prescribe optical correction,
and screen for abnormalities of the eye. They attend two to four years of
college and four years of optometry school.
some states, optometrists can prescribe a limited amount of drugs to help
diagnose and treat certain eye conditions. Optometrists generally do not
by a state to make optical aids-fits, adjusts and dispenses glasses, contact
lenses and other optical devices on written prescriptions of a licensed
ophthalmologist or optometrist. Training for an optician varies from a
preceptorship to two years of opticianry school.