Is There a Natural Cure for Blepharitis? Does Blepharitis Ever Go Away?
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids, which often leads to red and swollen eyelids. It is a very common condition which can occur at any age, however it is more prevalent in elderly individuals. The vast majority encounter flare-ups in symptoms followed by episodes without any side effects. It is not a contagious condition, although bacteria can be spread from person to person. When this bacteria spreads, it has the potential to cause everything from blepharitis to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), styes, and dry eye disease.
The symptoms of blepharitis can include: soreness or stinging in the eyes, red eyes and eyelids, dry eyelashes filled with crustiness, sensitivity to light, and irritated eyes and eyelids. Blepharitis can also contribute to other conditions such as dry eyes and styes. The exact cause of blepharitis is tough to pinpoint, but there are a few different things that may contribute to the condition:
Staph bacteria, which naturally lives on the skin of humans, is the most common cause of blepharitis when it becomes overpopulated on the skin of the eyelids.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis, which causes an irritated rash on the scalp and skin (seborrhoeic dermatitis of the scalp is known as dandruff). Seborrhoeic conditions cause an overabundance of oil production on the skin, and this can contribute to blepharitis.
Facial rosacea, which makes the face red, leathery, and uncomfortable, can also lead to ocular rosacea and blepharitis.
Demodex eyelash mites, that naturally live in our hair follicles and sebaceous glands, can reproduce quickly and become an issue, causing blepharitis and overall, irritated eyes.
How do you know if you have Blepharitis?
Tests and techniques used to analyze blepharitis include:
An examination of your eyelids: Your eyecare specialist will precisely analyze your eyelids and your eyes. He or she may utilize a unique magnifying instrument during the examination, which will allow the doctor to visualize your eyelids and lashes.
Skin Swab Testing: In specific cases, your specialist may utilize a swab to gather a sample of the oil or outside crust that appears on your eyelid. This can be investigated for microorganisms, growths or proof of sensitivity.
Is There a Natural Cure for Blepharitis?
We believe that blepharitis can be easily managed by performing a few at-home treatments on a daily basis. It is usually recommended that most of these steps be done twice per day, as this will really keep the bacteria at bay and allow your eyelids to heal. Most of these are done easily at home, while a few are done at your doctor's office.
Remove your Makeup with a Tea Tree Oil Makeup Remover
It’s amazing that so many people either forget to, or completely ignore that they need to, remove their makeup at night before they go to bed. Makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria, and when it’s left on your eyelids all night you’re just asking for blepharitis, styes, and dry eyes to creep in. Removing your makeup with an oil-based cleanser means that you’re going to get all of the makeup off (even the waterproof kind!) We recommend using an oil-based remover that contains tea tree essential oil, because the tea tree can help eliminate demodex eyelash mites and ensure that your eyes stay healthy. Simply place 3-5 drops of the remover onto a cotton ball or round and swipe it across your eyelids and lashes, concentrating at the base of the eyelashes until all of the eye makeup is removed.
Wash your Face with Tea Tree Oil Soap
Tea tree essential oil is fantastic for killing demodex eyelash mites and cleansing your skin. We recommend using a tea tree oil soap in the shower, all over your hair, face, and body. You can also leave a bar at the sink. To use, simply lather the bar soap between wet hands for a few seconds and then work it into your skin in circular motions. Keep your eyelids closed tightly! Take care to avoid getting the soap directly into the eyes, as this will burn. Rinse well after you’re finished. You’ll be amazed at how using a soap such as this can help eliminate crusty eyelashes, inflammation of the eyelids and skin, and other skin conditions.
Use a Warm Compress Eye Mask
The next step is to use a warm compress eye mask. This will help loosen any crusts on your lashes and help unblock your meibomian glands. The glands in your eyelids can sometimes become blocked with stagnant oil, and adding heat is a great way to release these oils onto your eyelids (think turning hardened butter into olive oil). To use a warm compress eye mask, simply heat it in the microwave on high for 20 seconds and then test the temperature on the inside of your wrist to ensure it’s not too hot. Place the mask over your closed eyelids for 10 minutes, and enjoy the relaxation!
Cleanse your Eyelids with a Hypochlorous Acid Cleanser
Arguably the most important step in this entire process (and our favorite) is cleansing your eyelids with hypochlorous acid. This cleanser is made naturally by the body to fight contaminants such as bacteria and other microorganisms. By using a cleanser such as this, you’re ensuring that your eyelids are staying healthy. We recommend you use this twice per day as maintenance and up to four times per day when dealing with a flare-up. To use, simply spray the solution onto your closed eyelids, rub it in, and let it dry. Alternatively, you can just spray it on and go or even use a cotton ball or round for application. Whichever way works for you is fine, and there’s no need to rinse afterward.
Use NuLids or BlephEx
When bacteria begin to overpopulate, they form biofilm. Biofilm is a substance that is not easily penetrated, and it protects the bacteria (giving off toxins in the process). To reduce biofilm formation, it must be mechanically removed. NuLids is a great at-home device that takes just 60 seconds per day and helps decrease biofilm to get your eyes feeling better quickly. If this doesn't sound like something you'd want to do, we recommend speaking with your eye care specialist about BlephEx. This is a similar procedure, and you can learn more about BlephEx here.
Eyelid Cleansing Wipes
If all of the above treatments didn't work for you, or if you just want a little extra friction with your eyelid cleansing, consider using an eyelid wipe. There are a few great ones out there and they work great for really decreasing the crustiness on your lashes. Simply remove the pre-moistened pad from the package, close your eyes, and wipe the pad over your closed eyelids (concentrating on the lash margin). Most formulas do not require rinsing.
Anti-inflammatory Diet and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Blepharitis is inflammation, and a great way to combat inflammation is with an anti-inflammatory, alkaline, plant-based diet. We talk about this all the time and you can
read more about the foods you should and should not be eating here. There are a few handy food charts in that blog as well, and filling your diet with these foods is key. Adding in green leafy vegetables, colored fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats means that your body can run properly. Your body can barely live on processed junk food, yet that’s what the majority of Americans are feeding themselves and their families. If you’re having a tough time eating well, at least replace your breakfast with a green smoothie and add omega-3 supplementation into your routine. Omega-3s have been shown to decrease inflammation throughout the body and they contribute to healthier skin, hair, heart, and eyes.
Is there a Cure for Blepharitis?
Yes...and no. Blepharitis is a chronic condition for most people, and this means that you’re going to be dealing with it throughout your life. However, we believe that blepharitis and other conditions such as dry eye have the ability to be cured by getting to the root of the problem. For example, if your blepharitis is caused by demodex and you really center your daily hygiene regimen around using tea tree oil to kill those mites, you’re more likely to find relief. However, this is not necessarily a “cure” because you will still need to practice that hygiene every single day, twice per day, to keep the blepharitis at bay.
FAQs about Blepharitis
What is the fastest way to cure blepharitis?
While there is no "cure" for blepharitis, the quickest way to relief is developing an eyelid hygiene routine in order to decrease the bacterial load on your eyelids. Most blepharitis is the result of staph bacteria, so hygiene is number one. Make sure you're thoroughly removing all makeup nightly, and wash your face with a tea tree based soap. After washing your face, cleanse your eyelids. We recommend hypochlorous acid because it's all natural and gentle on the delicate skin of your eyelids.
Does blepharitis ever go away?
There are many great ways to manage blepharitis, and many people find that symptoms decrease significantly. Eyelid hygiene, the use of warm compresses, and removing biofilm can all contribute to healthier eyelids.
How do you prevent blepharitis flare ups?
Flare-ups of blepharitis can be prevented by sticking to a proper eyelid hygiene regimen. Make sure you're removing your makeup and washing your face regularly. Cleanse your eyelids with a hypochlorous acid spray or a wipe intended for use on the eyelids. In addition to this, start looking into your diet and the things you might be eating which could be causing inflammation to flare up. Excess sugar, fried foods, processed junk, and foods loaded with pesticides are often culprits.
Does coconut oil help blepharitis?
While coconut oil does have great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, there is no real evidence that it will help blepharitis. However, it's not going to hurt. To use, we recommend using it as a moisturizer after your eyelid hygiene routine, concentrating organic coconut oil on your eyelids and lashes.
What does blepharitis look like?
Usually, those with blepharitis will have crustiness or flakes on their eyelids and eyelashes. They may or may not be visible to the naked eye, but your eye doctor will be able to see this sign on your eyelids. In addition to this, many people who suffer from blepharitis have redness along their eyelid margins, and their eyes may be red as well.
What causes blepharitis to flare up?
There are many things that can cause a flare-up. These may include, but are not limited to, a lax eyelid hygiene routine, lack of hygiene in general, stress, increase in processed foods, hormonal fluctuations, change in environment, and an overall increase in inflammation.
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