There are treatments which can help you reduce the effects of blepharitis. You may need treatment for several months:
1. Warm compresses
Warm compresses work by warming the material that blocks the glands and loosening the crusts on the eyelid, making them easier to remove. Reusable warming packs that you heat up in the microwave can be bought in-practice. We stock the Optase Moist Heat Mask and the EyeBag. You should aim to keep the pack on your eyes for about 10 minutes. Sometimes warm flannels are recommended. While they provide a cheaper alternative they do not hold their heat for the full 10 minutes and can leave you with a wet pillow! 10 minutes twice a day is the aim to begin with, but you can reduce to once a day when your symptoms start to resolve.
2. Lid cleaning
What should I use?
Traditionally, patients have been recommended baby shampoo to clean the eyelids however this (despite it’s “no tears” claims!) can cause the eyes to sting. We also find that patients find mixing a solution themselves a hassle and often do not stick to the treatment because of this. We recommend using a lid wipe or solution that has been specifically designed for blepharitis. You can buy pre-wetted wipes or solutions in-practice. In some cases treatment with tea tree oil is beneficial. This is used in particular forms of blepharitis and your optometrist will decide if this is appropriate.
What should I do?
At home treatments
Use a lid-cleaning wipe or a cotton-wool pad dampened in solution to gently clean the edges of your eyelids near your lashes. Wipe from the inside (near your nose) to the outside corner of your eye. Be careful not to clean inside your eyelid or to touch the surface of your eye with the wipe or cotton-wool bud. If you use pre-wetted wipes, use one side for each eye. Repeat this twice a day at first and reduce this to once a day as the condition improves.
We are also delighted to be the first and only practices in Ceredigion to offer the innovative ‘BlephEx’ treatment, a piece of technology that is used by your optometrist to very precisely and carefully spin a medical grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing scurf and debris and exfoliating your eyelids. This offers you a head start in your lid cleaning or is useful as a top-up to your home treatments. We usually recommend that it is repeated every 6 months.
“Up to now, we have only been able to advise patients on how to clean their eyelids at home, however this piece of kit gives us a fantastic opportunity to manage blepharitis in-practice, giving patients a jump start in the management of their condition.” - Ceri Probert, Specialist Optometrist & Director
To experience the benefits of the tool first hand or if you have any further questions please contact the Aberystwyth practice. More information can also be found at www.blephexlids.co.uk
3. Artificial tear supplements
For the relief of dry eye secondary to blepharitis you can use various eye drops, gels, ointments and sprays. We stock a wide variety of these, and your optometrist can recommend the one that is best for you.
4. Other treatments
There is some evidence that omega 3 supplements are beneficial in those with blepharitis and you can buy these in pharmacies and supermarkets. However, there is limited evidence about the exact dose required. Some patients have also found that gentle face washes and shampoos containing tea tree oil are a useful addition to your blepharitis management. If the treatments above do not work, it may be useful for your optometrist to prescribe you antibiotic tablets. Sometimes antibiotic drops or ointments work too, and you may need to take these for several weeks or months. Ceri and Lisa are independent prescribing optometrists and will be able to prescribe these if required. If you have any concerns about the health of your eyes, please call us to book an appointment. We are able to offer you consultation for any queries you may have about your eyes.
Text adapted from the College of Optometrists