Blepharitis Can be Treated with Medicine and Eyelid Hygiene
The primary treatment for blepharitis is warm compresses followed by eyelid scrubs. For more severe cases our doctors will also prescribe medicines.
Warm Compresses to Treat Blepharitis
Warm compresses may be performed by using a washcloth and warm/hot water or you can purchase a gel eye mask which can be warmed in the microwave. Compresses are more effective with more heat and longer application. You can leave it on for a minute than reheat it and apply again two to three more times. This will soften the secretions that have become thick and possibly clogged the glands.
Eyelid Scrubs to Treat Blepharitis
EyeLid scrubs are important especially for anterior lid disease in order to remove the flakes (collarettes) and crustiness where bacteria live. Commercial preparations are available at grocery and drug stores and consist of pre-moistened pads or foaming soaps. Many of these have an antibacterial component and they will not burn your eyes. Depending on the severity of the blepharitis, eyelid scrubs should be done twice a day after warm compresses.
Medicine to Treat Blepharitis
Compresses and scrubs are effective at controlling lid disease for many people but if the case is more severe, prescription medications may be necessary. Antibiotic/steroid combination drops or steroid drops alone are often prescribed for a limited period of time to reduce inflammation. In some patients steroids have side effects such as raising eye pressure so they cannot be used long term. Low dose oral antibiotics such as doxycycline are often used long term to help reduce the bacterial population of the lids. A newer treatment used by some doctors is with the use of Azasite (azithromycin) eye drops. Azasite has both an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effect to help resolve blepharitis. However, Azasite cannot match the anti-inflammatory properties of corticosteroids such as prednisolone acetate or lotoprednol (Lotemax) and is a much more costly drug than generic steroid drops.
Current studies have also shown that omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements are able to reduce dry eye as well as lid disease but take longer to show an effect.
Since dry eye disease is strongly linked to blepharitis, it should also be assessed and treated when necessary.
The key to controlling blepharitis lid disease is strict compliance with the treatment routine. Many people start but never follow through by continuing the treatment long term. In the beginning it may take 6-12 weeks to notice an appreciable difference so it's important to have patience and develop a routine you can stick with. Because blepharitis is a chronic condition it is very difficult to eliminate the condition for a lifetime. Usually a patient will need to be on some type of occasional eyelid hygiene treatment for years.