Blepharitis Overview


Blepharitis with chalazion

This is a very common condition affecting the eyelid margins of both eyes. Both men and women get it and it can be very annoying. It is caused by a low grade infection from common skin bacteria at the eyelashes and causes crusting, irritation, lid margin redness, reflex tearing, and burning and itching. There can be acute exacerbations with a lot of redness at the lid margins and on the eye associated with irritation and discharge or be a chronic blepharitis with mild "red rimmed" eyes with scaly crusting and mild irritation. It is sometimes called "dandruff" of the eyelids.

The images at the right show an example of blepharitis: crusts and inflammation (redness) are seen along the eyelash roots. The lid margin is also a little red and inflamed.


Meibomionitis is closely related to blepharitis, which is inflammation and mild blockage of the meibomian oily glands. Patients often have both meibomionitis and blepharitis, and are more prone to get a chalazion. The eyes are sore because the tears are not good quality and may evaporate fast and not cover the eye surface well.

This diagram shows the external eye and the normal lid margin zone.
This diagram shows the changes at the eyelid margin in blepharitis and meibomionitis. There are dry skin scales and crusting.

Associated diseases

Acne rosacea and rhinophyma.
These patients get severe blepharitis and meibominitis
Blepharitis and meibomionitis can be associated with skin conditions such as acne rosacea, where the skin is thick and oily. This patient has changes on the nose called rhinophyma.