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What is Eyelid Inflammation?

Inflammation in the eyelid chiefly occurs due to a bacterial infection in the different parts of the eyelid. Hair follicles in the eyelashes, the Meibomian gland (oil-secreting glands which prevent dryness in the eyes), and lachrymal glands (tear secreting glands) are the common sites of inflammation in the eyelid. Eyelid inflammation has a tendency to recur.

What are the main signs and symptoms of eye inflammation?

Eyelid inflammation presents as different signs and symptoms depending on the site of inflammation.

  • Blepharitis – It is the inflammation of the hair follicles in the eyelashes at the eyelid margin. The common symptoms include
    • Red, swollen, and painful eyelid margins
    • Thick crust or flakes at the base the eyelashes
    • Irritation and burning eyes
    • Increased sensitivity or intolerance to light.
  • Chalazion – It is a bump in the eyelid resulting from blockage in the superficially lying sweat gland (the Zeis gland). The blockage does not occur due to an infection. Chronic blepharitis or chronic stye frequently results in chalazion.
    • Initially, redness and pain is present in the affected area of the eyelid
    • Chalazion is painless in later stage
    • A chalazion occurs in one or both eyelids at the same time
  • Hordeolum or Stye – It is a painful lump in the eyelid margin due infection at hair follicle of the eye lashes and Meibomian gland lying deep inside the eyelid
    • Affected eyelid is red and swollen
    • Stye is painful sometimes oozing pus
    • Redness and watering in the affected eye
  • Dacryoadenitis and Dacryocystitis – It is the inflammation of tear-secreting gland and its sac, respectively, because of bacterial or viral infection.

What are the main causes of eyelid inflammation?

Infection due to bacteria or viruses is the chief cause of eyelid inflammation. Other conditions that are commonly associated with eyelid inflammation include

  • Seborrheic dermatitis, which involves oil glands in the skin of the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, etc.
  • Rosacea (flushing and redness of skin on face) is frequently seen with blepharitis
  • Reduction in or abnormality in the oil secreted by oil glands in the eyelids

How is eyelid inflammation diagnosed and treated?

Doctors diagnose different types of eyelid inflammation mainly on the basis of physical examination of the eye and history of symptoms.

Treatment is aimed at treating the cause, reducing inflammation, and relieving other symptoms occurring due to inflammation.

  • Antibiotic eye drops are mainly used to treat the infection
  • Steroid eye drops are used when inflammation is severe
  • Doctors commonly prescribe anti-dandruff shampoo when blepharitis is associated with dandruff

Self-care measures can be beneficial

  • Warm compression or fomentation helps in decreasing the inflammation and increasing the circulation of oil in the eyelid
  • Gentle massage on the eyelids helps in removing the blockages in the oil glands
  • Warm water mixed with mild soap or gentle scrubbing is used to clean the sticky crust or flakes on the eyelids
  • Maintaining proper hygiene can prevent repeated infections
  1. Medicines for Eyelid Inflammation

References

  1. Association of Optometrists. WHAT IS MEIBOMIAN GLAND DYSFUNCTION (MGD)?. London; [Internet]
  2. National Institutes of Health. Blepharitis Defined. The National Eye Institute; [Internet]
  3. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Blepharitis
  4. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Stye
  5. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Lacrimal Sac (Dacryocystitis). [internet]
  6. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; ROSACEA: OVERVIEW
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