All About Eyes

Dry Eyes Are Both A Cause And An Effect Of Blepharitis. 

Yes! It’s another dry eye post. 

Recently, I have noticed increased confusion among the public in regards to their dry eye symptoms. Some mistake dry eyes for an allergy, some mistake an allergy with dry eyes and some take blepharitis as an allergy and some fail to even acknowledge it. 

Therefore, I would like to clarify some points before I go ahead and explain the relationship between blepharitis and Dry eyes.

  • An allergy can occur at the same time an individual is experiencing dry eyes. 
  • Allergy eye drops can make dry eyes worse.
  • Dry eyes can make allergy symptoms worse.
  • As ironic as it is, Watery eyes is a symptom of dry eyes!
  • An allergy appears quite suddenly, in both eyes, in response to an allergic stimulus such as hay fever, pollen, medication, cosmetics and skincare products, etc. 
  • An Allergy is accompanied with some itchiness and non-stop tearing.
  • Dry eyes, depending on severity, is very gradual and symptoms range from mild discomfort and irritation, gritty and sandy sensations to intermittent blurring, watering of eyes, burning sensation and light sensitivity. 
  • 85% of dry eye cases are due to meibomian gland dysfunction, meaning a deficiency in the lipid layer of the tear film, causing tears to evaporate. Evaporated tears fail to protect from infection. As a result, blepharitis: an inflammation of the eyelid occurs.

What is Blepharitis?

Inflammation of the eyelids, including the margins. Commonly occurring due to clogged oil glands located on the eyelid margins.

It is characterized by inflamed red eyelids with tiny flakes. Symptoms include itchiness and foreign body sensations.

“Dry eyes are both a cause and an effect of blepharitis.”

Risk factors:

  • Acne Rosacea
  • Dry Eyes
  • Menopause: hormonal changes

Unmanaged Blepharitis can lead to:

  • Conjunctivitis: infection of the outermsmbrane of the eye with crusts and pus.
  • Keratitis: inflammation of the cornea, commonly by an infection. Associated with intense pain, red eyes and decreased vision.
  • Corneal neovascularization: formation of small blood vessels on the cornea, leading to numerous complications. 

Management: 

  • Warm compress to encourage meibomian gland function 
  • Lid hygiene 
  • 1 week course of chlorsig ointment
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Increase air humidity
  • Review drugs that may exacerbate eye symptoms e.g. antihistamines, beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, eye drops with preservatives.

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