Condition: Blepharitis and Meibomitis 2017-10-19T11:25:33+00:00

Blepharitis and Meibomitis

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The best way to figure out whether your specific condition can be treated or not is to give us a call. We can answer any questions you have and help you clarify which treatment options might be suitable for you.

There are different treatment options available for this condition and the most common ones are listed below:

  • Blepharitis
  • Meibomitis
Learn more about treatment options

Blepharitis and Meibomitis

What is Blepharitis and Meibomitis?

Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelid. It causes redness, irritation, itchy eyelids and the formation of scales on eyelashes.

Although uncomfortable, blepharitis is not contagious and does not usually cause any serious damage to the eye. It can be treated but not cured; if untreated it can sometimes lead to eyelid entropion from scarring.


Types of blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis:

    • Anterior blepharitis occurs at the outside front edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes are rooted
    • Posterior blepharitis affects the inner edge of the eyelid that is in contact with the eyeball

Meibomitis is an inflammation of the meibomian glands and is very closely related to blepharitis.

The oily glands openings on the lid margins become blocked with inspicated meibomian secretions. The oil produced by the meibomian glands is thicker and has a milky appearance, rather than a clear oil.

Meibomitis is also known as meibomian gland dysfunction or MGD.


Blepharitis may cause ‘grittiness’ and a burning sensation in the eyes, excessive tearing, irritation, red-rimmed and swollen eyelids, dry eyes, and crusting around the eyelash roots. A severe blepharitis can be associated with conjunctivits, known as a blepharoconjunctivitis.

Meibomitis plugging reduces the amount of good quality oil and can make the tears sting and evaporate quickly. If the meibomitis is acute, the eyelids can be red, thickened and tender. Pressing on the eyelids can demonstrate the thickened, milky oil which has been likened to squeezing toothpaste.

In many cases, good eyelid hygiene and regular cleaning can control blepharitis. In cases where a bacterial infection is the cause, various antibiotics or other medication may be prescribed alongside good eyelid hygiene.


Anterior blepharitis is commonly caused by bacteria or dandruff from the scalp and eyebrows. Less commonly it may be related to allergies or a low grade infection.

Posterior blepharitis may be caused by abnormal oil production from the eyelid glands. It can also develop as a result of other skin conditions such as acne rosacea.

Meibomitis is worse in patients with ocular acne rosacea.

Video: Condition Meibomitis explained


A thorough medical and diet history is first taken as blepharitis and meibomitis can be related to acne rosacea and exacerbated by certain skin types and diets.

Blepharitis and meibomitis is diagnosed by the history and through a comprehensive ophthalmological examination. Your oculoplastic surgeon will examine your eyes, eyelids, skin texture and eyelash appearance. A lacrimal study of the quantity and quality of tears is also included, as blepharitis is usually associated with tear film dysfunction.

A diagnosis of the specific type of blepharitis can often be made based on the appearance of the eyelid margins. The eyelid may be everted to look at the undersurface conjunctiva (inner lining).

Blepharitis and meibomitis can be associated with chalazia and conjunctival concretions.

Very rarely, blepharitis and chalazia may masquerade as benign but upon closer examination represent an eyelid tumour such as a morpheic basal cell carcinoma or meibomian cell carcinoma, both of which are malignant tumours. Blepharitis occurs bilaterally but a tumour is invariably unilateral, i.e. blepharitis and meibomitis in just one eye cannot exist.


Blepharitis and meibomitis can be distressing conditions. Treatment depends on the specific type of blepharitis. The key to treating most types of blepharitis is keeping the eyelids clean and crust free by means of good lid hygiene, however some cases may require more complex treatment plans.

Treatments include:

Hot flannel soaking and cleaning twice daily

  • Eyelid wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment to lid margins
  • Lubricating eyedrops
  • Treatment of acne rosacea with tetracycline-family medication
  • A diet high in Omega-3,6 & 9
  • Flax seed oil
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) eyebag treatment

N.B. Blepharitis and meibomitis seldom disappear completely and even with successful treatment, relapses may occur.



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