What Is Blepharitis? A Guide to Eye Blepharitis Causes and Symptoms

September 10th, 2020

Eye blepharitis is an uncomfortable but manageable disorder that many people deal with on a daily basis. But what is blepharitis of the eye, what are the causes and is it contagious? We’re answering these questions as well as sharing some helpful ways to relieve symptoms in this helpful guide to blepharitis. Keep in mind, you should always consult your doctor or eye care professional if you believe you have blepharitis or if you are looking to try a new regimen to alleviate symptoms.

teary eye of a female

What Is Blepharitis of the Eye?

The simplest blepharitis definition is, quite simply, the inflammation of the eyelids. This common chronic condition can make eyelids appear red and swollen. It can cause dandruff-like flaking or oily particles to form and wrap around the eyelashes. It can also cause blurry vision, sensitivity to light, extra tears or dry eyes, itching, burning and/or soreness. The disorder can usually be classified into two types:

  • Anterior Blepharitis. This form typically occurs at the outside front edge of the eyelid, where the eyelashes are attached. Anterior blepharitis is usually caused by bacteria or dandruff from the scalp or eyebrows.
  • Posterior Blepharitis. This form of blepharitis usually affects the inner edge of the eyelid that touches the eyeball. Posterior blepharitis can occur when the eyelid glands irregularly produce oil, leading to bacterial growth. This can also be the result of rosacea and scalp dandruff.

What Causes Blepharitis?

So, what causes blepharitis? To put it simply: bacteria. Although blepharitis is a very common disorder in people of all ages, especially among those who have oily skin, dandruff or rosacea, it typically occurs in those with oil gland problems in their eyelids or those with excess bacteria at the base of their eyelashes.

Is Blepharitis Contagious?

Although uncomfortable and sometimes unsightly, if not regularly managed, eye blepharitis is not contagious.

Can Complications Occur?

Generally, blepharitis doesn’t cause any permanent damage to eyesight. However, complications can occur. These can include:

  • The formation of styes (red, tender bumps) on the eyelid due to an acute infection of the eyelid’s oil glands.
  • Chalazion, a condition that often follows the formation of styes. It is usually a painless, firm lump caused by inflammation of the oil glands.
  • Tear film issues, including excess tearing or dry eye. This can lead to an increased risk of corneal infections.

Is There Symptom Relief Options for Those with Eye Blepharitis?

While there’s currently no cure for eye blepharitis, there are a number of ways to alleviate symptoms. If you suffer from blepharitis, it is extremely important to keep your eyelids, skin and hair clean. Good hygiene and keeping the lids clean and free of crusts is key to keeping blepharitis symptoms under control. The following are some ways to keep bacteria in check and blepharitis at bay.

Warm Compresses

A warm compress can help to loosen the flakes sticking to your eyelashes and should be used on a daily basis. It can also help to keep oil glands from clogging. Simply wet a clean washcloth with warm water and wring it out. Then, place the washcloth over your closed eye for at least one minute. Wet the cloth as often as needed, so it stays warm.

The EyeGiene® dry eye mask can also help to manage symptoms of blepharitis. The portable, self-activated and temperature-controlled mask provides over 10 minutes of continuous and localized therapeutic heat through the use of innovative, disposable warming wafers. Plus, you can easily wash the eye mask by hand or on the delicate cycle.

Eyelid Cleaning Solutions


Following the daily warm compress, it’s important to have a cleaning regimen. Our Zenoptiq™ eyelid spray is a natural cleaning agent that can be used to gently clean eyelids, removing debris that may be blocking the glands. Made with hypochlorous acid, this spray helps to kill bacteria and may reduce inflammation related to blepharitis and dry eye and can be used for daily eyelid cleansing.


Eyelid Wipes

A daily hygiene routine is crucial to keeping your eyelids and eyelashes free of debris. ComfortClear™ lid hygiene wipes gently remove debris from the eyelids and lashes. The no-rinse formula cleanses sensitive skin and the convenient packaging makes it ideal for use on-the-go! Read more about the benefits of using eyelid wipes for blepharitis.


Your ophthalmologist may recommend an antibiotic ointment to treat severe forms of blepharitis or when there is a bacterial infection. This is typically applied at the base of the eyelashes before bedtime. An oral antibiotic may also be prescribed.

Eye Drops

Artificial tears or antibiotic eye drops can reduce swelling, redness and dry eye in severe cases or when a bacterial infection is present. They may also help your oil glands to work better.

In general, a daily regimen of a warm compress followed by good daily lid hygiene may help to combat blepharitis symptoms from flaring up. If you have severe eye blepharitis, your eye care professional may recommend antibiotics or eye drops. Be sure to discuss your eyelid hygiene routine with your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any new methods.

Ease the Symptoms of Blepharitis with Eye Care Products from Focus Labs

At Focus Labs, we’re dedicated to providing safe and innovative products that help support eye health and improve quality of life. Shop our selection of eye care products to help combat the symptoms of eye blepharitis and get back to seeing life clearly. Have a question or need additional information regarding our line of products? Buy Comfort Clear Eyelid Wipes to maintain daily hygiene.

Know someone who might enjoy this article?
secure-trust-guard secure-trust-guard