Cornea and External Disease
Blepharitis

Blepharitis

 

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 burning.

 

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 include:

 

Artificial tears to relieve symptoms of dry eye. (These are eye drops that are available without a prescription.)

 

Antibiotics (oral or topical) to decrease bacteria on the eyelids.

 

Occasionally steroids (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 Different?

 

Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) are different from optometrists and opticians in their training and in what they can diagnose and treat. 

 

As a 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.

 

Ophthalmologists complete:

-     4 years of college;

-     4 years of medical school;

-     1 year of internship;

-     3 years, at least, of residency (hospital-based training) in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye disorders.

 

After 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.

 

While 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.

 

An optometrist 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.

 

In some states, optometrists can prescribe a limited amount of drugs to help diagnose and treat certain eye conditions. Optometrists generally do not perform surgery.

 

An optician-licensed 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.


ACCESSIBILITY