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Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It causes redness, irritation, itchy eyelids and a dandruff-like crustiness around the eyelashes. It’s uncomfortable and unattractive but not contagious and unlikely to cause any permanent damage. The condition is more common in the 50+ age-group but can strike at any age and is annoying because it tends to reoccur.


  • Itchy eyelids
  • Redness & irritation
  • Dandruff-like crustiness around eyelashes

What causes Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is usually caused by an infection. The condition can also occur as a complication of an existing skin complaint such as seborrhoeic dermatitis (a flaky skin condition). Seborrhoeic dermatitis is characterised by oily skin and it’s thought this excessive oil causes irritation around the eyelids, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

How to treat Blepharitis

Blepharitis has an annoying habit of coming back but the best way to combat it is to keep up a daily eye-cleaning routine and to avoid make-up and contact lenses while symptoms exist. A warm compress (cotton wool soaked in hot water) can be held to the eyelids to loosen any crusting and a cleaning solution (such as diluted baby shampoo or one of many eyelid cleaning products available commercially) can be used to keep the eyes clean. If the problem fails to clear-up on its own your GP can prescribe antibiotics.