Often times when I go to the ophthalmologist, I learn that I
have a new eye condition or a previous one has returned. This visit was no different when I went to the
eye doctor earlier this week and found out that the blepharitis affecting my
right eyelids has not improved and that it is also affecting my left lids.
Blepharitis is a relatively new condition for me and I have learning more about
during the last few months. Since
blepharitis is a common condition for those with Sjogren’s, I thought that this
would be a good opportunity to share some information about it.
Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids; it is
more common in those with Sjogren’s or rosacea.
The meiobmian glands, which make lipids, are found along the base of the
eyelids and in some Sjogren’s patients become blocked.
Picture from the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of New Zealand
According to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, this can
cause “low grade chronic inflammation and bacterial infection resulting in pain
and swelling of the lower eyelids.” Many
believe that eye lubricants used by those with dry eyes and Sjogren’s patients
may contribute to the meibomian glands becoming blocked and to developing
blepharitis. Tear dysfunction itself in
Sjogren’s is also thought to be another cause.
The problem with treating blepharitis can be that it tends
to comeback. Most treatments involve
warm soaks and gentle cleaning and massage of the eyelids to open the blocked
glands. Dr. Robert Fox from Scripps recommends the following steps to clean the
Make a warm compress by dampening a clean
washcloth with water and soaking your eyelid for a few minutes.
Make a solution of 1 teaspoon of Johnson and
Johnson no tears baby shampoo in a quart of water.
Use a new warm washcloth and put it in this
solution and then put the washcloth over your eyelids (with eyes closed).
Next gently massage the washcloth over your eyes
Your doctor may prescribe medications, a specific cleaning
routine, or eye cleansers for you. My
doctor has had me use prescription Tobradex a combination anti-biotic and steroid ointment
for when the lids become swollen and painful. For Dr. Fox’s complete discussion and recommendations
for blepharitis and Sjogren’s click here
. Let me know if you any other
suggestions or tips that help you keep blepharitis under control. Mine seems to keep rearing its head
every couple weeks.