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Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the eyelids and usually causes itching and irritation. The eyelids can appear red and swollen, with crusty or flaky skin around the edges of the lids.

What is blepharitis

Blepharitis is not sight threatening, but it is a permanent condition that may get better or worse over time. Blepharitis is caused by inflammation of the skin and/or the meibomian glands, which are found along the edge of the eyelid at the base of the eyelashes.

There is no direct connection between blepharitis and glaucoma. However, many people with glaucoma suffer from blepharitis.

Blepharitis is not a contagious condition and cannot be transferred by using the same towel.

There are several different types of blepharitis, and each has different treatments. Your eye health professional will suggest which treatment is best for you.

Patience is important as it may take a few weeks before you notice the effects of any treatment.

How to control blepharitis

The key to controlling the condition is to keep your eyelids and eyelashes clean.  Eyelid-cleaning solutions and eyelid wipes are available commercially, or you can try making them at home. You may be advised to use sodium bicarbonate solution or diluted baby shampoo. Full instructions for cleaning your eyes and making eyelid-cleaning solutions are available in our leaflet.

You may also be given antibiotics to treat the blepharitis. Always finish the course of tablets. If you have any side effects to antibiotics, contact your GP as soon as possible.

Download our free blepharitis leaflet

If you want to know more about blepharitis, our free leaflet is a great place to start. You can download a digital edition or order the print version to be delivered to your door.

We are here to help

For more information, or for any help and advice, please call 01233 64 81 70 or email

Our helpline is open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm.