What Is Anterior Blepharitis? How To Treat Anterior Blepharitis

What Is Anterior Blepharitis? How To Treat Anterior Blepharitis

Anterior Blepharitis Definition, Its Causes, and How to Treat

Are you irked by sore, red, swollen eyelids — sometimes coexisting with crustiness at the base of the eyelashes?

If yes, it's probable you have anterior blepharitis, as these are just a few of the symptoms of blepharitis. Blepharitis is just a fancy term which means an inflammation of the eyelids, and it often coexists with a bacterial infection, dry eyes, or meibomian gland dysfunction (a separate type of blepharitis). Anterior blepharitis is very common in the United States and around the world, so you're not alone!

Here are a few things you should know about anterior blepharitis, how to treat it and prevent it from recurring. Let's discuss treatment first.


How to Treat Anterior Blepharitis

First of all, you want to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist to be sure that you have blepharitis and not something else going on. An eye doctor’s job is to properly diagnose and treat your condition, so they’re the best place to start. Also, they have special equipment that can help them define exactly what type of blepharitis you have. Overall, washing the face regularly and practicing good eyelid hygiene are fine treatments for blepharitis, but it’s important to get into a routine of doing this once or twice per day. It can be managed in any of the following ways:


Our #1 Tip for Blepharitis Treatment: Keep Eyelids Clean With A Hypochlorous Acid Eyelid Cleanser

Keeping the eyelids clean is the best way to treat this skin condition and reduce symptoms. Use of a hypochlorous acid based solution cleans the eyelids to decrease the growth of bacteria and oil production. We love hypochlorous cleansers because our bodies make this substance naturally to fight microorganisms and inflammation. It is a very natural product and generally safe for everyone to use.

Using it is super easy! Simply spray the solution onto your closed eyelids, right on the lid margins, and rub it into the base of the eyelashes. Alternatively, you can spray it onto a cotton ball or round and apply this way. The cleanser does not need to be rinsed off, and it's recommended to do this twice per day (morning and evening is great).

We use Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser for our patients. Click here to purchase on Amazon.  

The following are the steps that we use in our eyelid hygiene routine.


2. Remove makeup and debris with an oil-based cleanser

Makeup is something you should avoid when you have blepharitis anyway, but if you need to take it off the best remover to use is one that is oil based. The Heyedrate Eye Makeup Remover Oil will help remove all eye makeup (even the waterproof kind!) Oil-based removers are great because oil dissolves oil, so they really work well to remove all of the makeup and ensure that your eyelids are clean when you head to bed. In general, they also don’t contain a ton of chemicals (if any), so they’re safe for use around the eyes and for those with sensitive eyes and eyelids. This particular remover also includes vitamin E for anti-aging benefits, and it incorporates tea tree essential oil to help fight bacteria and demodex eyelash mites.

Simply put a few drops of the remover onto a cotton ball or round and swipe over your closed eyelids, concentrating on the base of the eyelashes. If you’re wearing a lot of eye makeup or it’s waterproof, you may want to wet your closed eyes a bit before using, as this will help to further loosen the makeup and make it easier to remove. Once your eye makeup is removed, follow with a tea tree oil face wash.


3. Cleanse your face with Tea Tree Oil Soap

After removing your makeup, it's a great idea to also make sure your face is clean. Specifically, we like to use a tea tree oil-based soap, because tea tree oil is known to kill demodex eyelash mites which can contribute to anterior and posterior blepharitis.

Our Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap is simple to use. After removing any makeup, wet your hands and work the bar soap into a lather. Massage the lather onto your facial skin and rinse well, avoiding direct contact with your eyes (tea tree essential oil is known to burn!) After rinsing, simply pat dry and moisturize as usual. You can start out using this soap twice per day. Some people may find it drying, so if that’s you, just decrease it to once per day.


4. Application of warm compresses over the eyelids can loosen the crusts

You can purchase a specific warm eye compress somewhere like Amazon, or you can make one by putting dried rice (not instant) into a clean sock. We recommend these two types because using warm water and a cloth is tedious, and a mask is just so much easier to use. If it's easy and quick to use, you're more likely to do it!

  1. Microwave for 10-20 seconds until warm to the touch (test on your wrist).
  2. Place over your closed eyelids for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Relax and enjoy!
  4. Gently massage the area to loosen up any debris.
  5. Follow your warm compress with an eyelid cleanser to remove any extra contaminants.

5. Finish your routine with a Hypochlorous Acid Eyelid Cleanser

As we stated earlier, keeping the eyelids and lashes clean is so important to prevent anterior blepharitis and other complications that can arise such as MGD, dry eyes, demodex mites, and styes. Use of a hypochlorous acid based solution cleans the eyelids to decrease contaminants and promote healthy oil production.

This is super easy to do! Simply spray the solution onto your closed eyelids, right on the lid margins, and rub it into the base of the eyelashes. Alternatively, you can spray it onto a cotton ball or round and apply this way. The cleanser does not need to be rinsed off, and it's recommended to do this twice per day (morning and evening is great). This marks the end of your blepharitis routine! This is generally what we recommend for everyone, and you can follow this routine with a gentle moisturizer or oil of your choice to ensure that your face, lids, and lashes stay moisturized throughout the upcoming day and night.


Other Blepharitis Treatment and Avoidance Tips

  • Reduce the amount of makeup you wear during treatment, because makeup interferes with good eyelid hygiene. If you have to wear makeup, be sure to remove it with a tea tree oil based waterproof makeup remover. Also make sure to remove all your eye makeup before going to bed at night.
  • Avoid contact lenses during treatment or flare-ups, as wearing contact lenses increases bacteria in the eye and eyelid area. If you must wear them, ensure that you’re removing them at night and properly cleaning your lenses.
  • Doctors may prescribe a low-dose, oral antibiotic in some cases. However, this is not always necessary if you have simple anterior blepharitis alone. This is often reserved for those with concomitant ocular rosacea and MGD.
  • Application of a medicated eye drop may be needed, such as an antibiotic ointment, if the above still does not resolve your issues.
  • It’s always best to consult with your eye doctor before beginning any treatment regimen, so that they can give you a proper diagnosis and direction for treatment.

What is Anterior Blepharitis?

Anterior blepharitis is one of the most common eye diseases caused by either bacteria or a skin condition, such as dandruff of the scalp or rosacea. It is an inflammation of the eyelids in which they become irritated and itchy. There can also be dandruff-like scales that form on the eyelid where the eyelashes meet. While it is usually not sight-threatening, it can lead to permanent modification in the eyelid margin and may disrupt the tear film as well as the ocular surface.

It can affect anyone of any age bracket and it is not contagious. This type of blepharitis appears at the exterior edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes are attached. Alternatively, posterior blepharitis (also known as meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD) affects the inner edge of the eyelid, which is the part that comes into contact with your eyeball. This is where the meibomian glands live, and these little oil glands are responsible for the oily portion of your tears. When the glands become disrupted, they can become clogged, making it difficult for the eyes to feel lubricated.

Both anterior and posterior blepharitis can put you at risk for dry eye disease and styes. Blepharitis can disrupt the tear film and the ocular surface, making you very uncomfortable and even occasionally making it difficult for you to see.

What Causes Anterior Blepharitis?

It is often caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. Another cause of anterior blepharitis is known as seborrheic blepharitis. Such bacteria are often found on the face and lids, but if they become overpopulated, or the lid area reacts poorly to their presence, inflammation, or redness and irritation, may occur.

Sometimes, even though it is not so common, anterior blepharitis can be caused by allergies or a mite infestation of the eyelashes, known as demodex mites. These little buggers live in your eyelash follicles naturally, but they can wreak havoc if they become overpopulated. Demodex feed on the oils and bacteria of our eyelids and eyelashes, so this highlights the importance of keeping your eyelids clean and free of debris. The less food they have around, the shorter their lifespan.


Anterior Blepharitis Symptoms

  • Dried discharge on the eyelids, especially when just waking up
  • Eyelids and eyelashes matted shut upon awakening
  • Swelling of the eyelids and skin around the eyes
  • Red, irritated eyelids
  • Itching of the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Eyelash loss
  • Sensitivity to bright light

How Long Does Blepharitis Last?

Unfortunately blepharitis is a chronic condition. This means that there is no cure, but there are ways to maintain blepharitis and therefore reduce symptoms of inflammation, dryness, and irritation. By following a few of the easy steps above, you can live a life free of blepharitis. It all comes down to finding an eyelid hygiene routine that works for you, once or twice per day, and being committed to that routine every single day.


Do you have questions? Ask them in our Facebook Community.

One Love,

Man and woman

Dr. Travis Zigler

SeeEO of Eye Love

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  • Jenna Zigler
Comments 3
  • ashley

    Hey Leah – you bet! Hypochlorous acid is a bactericidal component of the immune system. This means that when your immune system comes across pathogens it actually releases hypochlorous acid to help kill the bacteria.our spray is ALL NATURAL containing only 3 ingredients: Hypochlorous Acid,
    Electrolyzed Water, and Sodium Chloride. ENJOY!
    ONE LOVE, ashley operations manager

  • Leah

    Are hypochlorous acid based solutions safe to use while pregnant?

  • Shirley Dpruill
    Shirley Dpruill

    I also thought this cause the eye to jump and twitch a lot.

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