Blepharitis Management: What You Can Do at Home

Blepharitis involves chronic inflammation of the eyelid margins and is a very common cause of ocular irritation.  Blepharitis cannot be permanently cured; successful management of this condition depends on consistent treatment regimen as detailed below.

One way to manage blepharitis is to apply warm compresses to the eyelids for several minutes to soften adherent crusting and warm the oil gland secretions. Sustained warmth can be achieved by using hot tap water on a clean wash cloth or by heating a gel pack or bag of rice in the microwave.  Avoid using compresses that are so hot that they burn the skin.

Consider using vertical eyelid massage to express meibomian oil gland secretions.  To maintain lid hygiene, gently and carefully rub the base of the eyelashes using either diluted baby shampoo or commercially available eyelid cleaner on a pad.  A schedule of regular eyelid cleansing sessions, daily or several times weekly, often blunts the symptoms of chronic blepharitis.

Diet modification is an additional way to manage some forms of blepharitis.  Taking two 1000-mg capsules of omega 3-fatty acid three times a day can result in improvement in the tear film break-up time and decreased dry eye symptoms, suggesting a possible benefit in some blepharitis patients.

Generally, using artificial tears improves symptoms when used as an adjunct to eyelid cleansing maneuvers.  If artificial tears are used more than four times per day, preservative-free tears are recommended to avoid preservative toxicity.