Eyelid Inflammation

What is eyelid inflammation?

There are two types of eyelid inflammation: anterior and posterior.Washing your eyes and applying a warm compress can reduce inflammation.Rubbing your eyes can spread an existing infection.

Your eyelids are the folds of skin that cover your eyes and protect them from debris and injury. Your eyelids also have lashes with short, curved hair follicles on the edge of the lids. These follicles contain oil glands. These oil glands can sometimes become clogged or irritated, which triggers inflammation. This condition is known as eyelid inflammation, or blepharitis.

Causes of eyelid inflammation

The exact cause of eyelid inflammation cannot always be determined, but different factors may increase your risk of blepharitis. For example, you may have a higher risk if you also have dandruff on your scalp or eyebrows. It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to makeup or other cosmetic products you have applied around your eye, triggering eyelid inflammation.

These aren’t the only possible causes. Other causes or risk factors for eyelid inflammation include:

  • having eyelash mites or lice
  • bacterial infection
  • medication side effects
  • a malfunctioning oil gland

Types of eyelid inflammation

Anterior eye inflammation occurs on the outside of your eye where your eyelashes are located. Dandruff on your eyebrows and allergic reactions in your eyes can cause anterior eyelid inflammation.

Posterior eyelid inflammation occurs on the inner corners of your eyes. A malfunctioning oil gland in your eyelash follicles usually causes this form of inflammation.

Symptoms of eyelid inflammation

Eyelid inflammation is usually noticeable because it can irritate your eyes and possibly affect your vision. Symptoms of inflammation include:

  • itchy eyelids
  • swollen eyelids
  • red or inflamed eyelids
  • a burning sensation in the eyes
  • oily eyelids
  • a feeling that something is in or on your eyes
  • red eyes
  • watery eyes
  • a crust on your eyelashes or in the corners of your eyes
  • sensitivity to light

Diagnosing eyelid inflammation

Your family doctor, an internist, or an eye doctor can diagnose eyelid inflammation. In some cases, a physical examination of your eye is enough to diagnose the condition. Your doctor can also closely examine your eyelids using a specialized magnifying tool. This eye examination checks your eyes for inflammation as well as the presence of bacteria, fungi, or viruses, which can indicate an infection.

If there are signs of an infection, your doctor will swab your eye and take a sample of any fluid seeping from your eyes. This sample is then examined under a microscope.

Treating eyelid inflammation

Washing your eyes and applying a warm compress can reduce inflammation. Depending on the severity of inflammation and whether your inflammation is caused by an infection, your doctor may recommend other treatments.

If you don’t have an infection, your doctor may prescribe steroids, eye drops, or ointment to reduce inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe lubricating eye drops to stop irritation caused by dry eyes.

A course of antibiotics may effectively treat eyelid infections. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotic medication in pill, ointment, or liquid drop form. Doctors often prescribe drops when an infection spreads beyond the eyelid.

Potential complications of eyelid inflammation

Eyelash loss is a potential complication of eyelid inflammation. This is caused by scarring in the hair follicles, which can make your lashes grow incorrectly. Extensive scarring can also prevent eyelash growth.

The oil glands on your eyelids can also become infected and blocked. This can cause an infection under your eyelids. An untreated eye infection can cause permanent eye damage and vision loss. Scarring under the eyelids can scratch the eye’s delicate surface and cause ulcers on your cornea, which is the clear, protective outer layer of your eye.

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