Blepharitis is often a chronic, or ongoing, condition, but it can be controlled with the following treatments. Your ophthalmologist will help you identify which treatments are most appropriate.
Wet a clean washcloth with warm water, wring it out, and place it over your closed eyelids for at least one minute. Repeat two or three times, rewetting the washcloth as it cools. This will loosen scales and debris around your eyelashes. It also helps break down oil from nearby oil glands. This prevents development of a chalazion (pronounced kuh-LAY-zee-un) — an enlarged lump caused by clogged oil secretions in the eyelid.
Using a clean washcloth, cotton swab or commercial lint-free pad soaked in warm water, gently scrub the base of your eyelashes for about 15 seconds per eyelid.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe an antibiotic ointment. Using a clean fingertip or cotton swab, gently apply a small amount at the base of the eyelashes before bedtime.
Artificial tears or steroid eyedrops may also be prescribed temporarily to relieve dry eye or inflammation. A new antibiotic drop that also helps improve the oil secretions of the meibomian glands may be prescribed by your Eye M.D.
Research suggests that a lack of certain nutrients may contribute to meibomian gland blepharitis. An imbalance of omega fatty acids has been found to cause abnormal secretions of the oil glands that help lubricate your eyes. Ask your ophthalmologist about a proper diet and nutritional supplements to help treat this imbalance.
Because blepharitis can be an ongoing problem, you should regularly clean your skin and eyelids to keep blepharitis from returning. In addition to carefully cleansing your eyelashes, you can also wash your hair, scalp and eyebrows with antibacterial shampoo to help control blepharitis.
Additional resources for information about blepharitis
American Academy of Ophthalmology Preferred Practice Pattern: Blepharitis (October 2011)