Blepharitis: The Low-Down on Scaly, Itchy Eyelids

January 19, 2024

Do you ever wake up in the morning with crusty, scaly eyelids? Combined with your bed-head and morning breath, it’s not a pretty picture. Fortunately, your optometrist may be able to help you treat that “sleep” in your eyes. You may have a very common condition called blepharitis.

Other symptoms include flakes and a general redness, puffiness or scaliness along the baseline of your lashes. You may feel like there is sand in your eyes or have a general burning or itchy sensation throughout the day. Blepharitis is also associated with an oily or sticky sensation on your eyes, caused by discharge from the eyelid glands. Left untreated, these glands can become plugged and infected, which can cause recurrent styes or dry eye syndrome — not to mention crusted scales and debris on your eyelids.

I know what you’re thinking: Gross, right? Not to worry — although blepharitis is a chronic condition with no known cure, there are solutions. There are different kinds of blepharitis and different causes for the condition. It’s usually bacterial, but can also be caused by seborrhea (dandruff), rosacea, allergies, toxins or viral infections. Parasitic mites called demodex can also be the cause of this condition and the associated symptoms. Often these little critters need to be treated with tea tree oil washes.

Early diagnosis and proper treatment are the trick for getting this condition under control. Just as your dentist recommends that you floss and see the hygienist to prevent gum disease, your optometrist should perform regular maintenance on your eyelids. He or she may ask you to use hot compresses and special lid washes or wipes at home. If your condition is particularly severe, your optometrist may ask you to undergo more extensive blepharitis treatment. BlephEx is an in-office instrument that spins a medical grade micro-sponge along the edge of your eyelids and lashes, removing debris and exfoliating your eyelids. The procedure takes less than 15 minutes and doesn’t hurt a bit. Most patients simply report a tickling sensation. The effects are long lasting, but not permanent, and you will probably see your optometrist for repeat treatment every six months or so in conjunction with the regular lid wash maintenance you can do at home.

If you’re suffering from crusty, dry, scratchy, red or irritated eyes, make an appointment with your optometrist to start a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Dr Trevor Miranda is an optometrist in the Cowichan Valley. Follow him on Twitter at @DrTrevorMiranda or visit his website at

From Ageless Living. |

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