Do you wake up with your eyes crusted shut every morning? Maybe you feel like you have a piece of sand in your eye that you just have to wipe away. This medical condition is known as blepharitis, but more casually called ‘eyelid inflammation.’ The crust is usually on the outside, front edge where you eyelashes attached to your eyelid. You may experience this crust in just one eye, but it often affects both. While this eye condition does not have a cure, you should recognize the symptoms and know the causes to prevent the ailment better. Although it is uncomfortable, blepharitis does not cause permanent damage to your eye or eyesight. Further, it is not contagious. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and causes.
Symptom: Crusted, Burning, or Gritty Eyes
The most obvious symptom of blepharitis is crusted eyes. However, the condition has also been explained as a burning sensation or a gritty feeling. Your skin may also be flaking around your eyes, but the crust is actually in your eyes.
Symptom: Blurred Vision or Sensitivity to Light
With blepharitis, you may notice you have to blink several times in order to have a clear vision, especially first thing in the morning. In fact, you may blink more than usual because of blepharitis. Besides experiencing blurred vision, you might also have a sensitivity to light.
Symptom: Swollen, Red, Dry Eyes
While some people with blepharitis experience watery eyes that tear up more than usual, others complain of dry eyes. Besides that, your eyelids can swell, and the skin along with the white part of your eye may turn red.
Symptom: Itchy, Greasy Eyelids
Although your eyelids are not greasy per say, they may appear like they are greasy if you have blepharitis. An uncomfortable itchiness, most likely due to the grittiness, may also occur.
Symptom: Eyelashes Angles
If your eyelashes grow abnormally, you may be more likely to experience blepharitis. Misdirected eyelashes that grow at different angles are a symptom of blepharitis. You may experience a greater loss of eyelashes as well.
Cause: Clogged Oil Glands
While there is not a single cause for blepharitis, several things can contribute to the eye condition. Clogged oil glands in your eyelid are a primary culprit. In some cases, they may not be clogging, but rather malfunctioning in general, which will cause reoccurring symptoms.
While airborne allergies can irritate your eyes, blepharitis can also develop from an allergic reaction to products you put in or near your eye. For example, cosmetic makeup or contact lens solution might be the reason for your early-morning crusty eyes.
Cause: Eyelash Mites or Lice and Seborrheic Dermatitis
Did you know there teeny tiny mites on your eyelashes? Although they are microscopic, they are definitely there. These little guys might irritate your eyes from time to time. Further, head lice in your eyebrows or hair might cause blepharitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a medical term for dandruff of the scalp or eyebrows. If the flaky skin falls into your eyelid, it can irritate the area with symptoms of blepharitis.
Cause: Acne Rosacea
This long-term skin condition may be connected to blepharitis. Rosacea is characterized by redness in the face, even if you are not overly warm. The condition not only causes a red face, but it may result in pimples, swelling, and small, dilated blood vessels on your forehead, cheeks, or chin.
While blepharitis does not necessarily require medical attention, it is a long-term problem. Although your symptoms might come and go, they should get better with proper cleaning and care. If not, visit your doctor. Blepharitis might cause other eye problems like dry eye syndrome, pink eye, or further injury to the cornea. Cysts and stys may also develop, which are swollen red bumps on the top or bottom of your eyelid.