There is a row of oil glands on the lid margins of both the upper and lower eyelids. These oil glands produce oil that coat the surface of the tears. This reduces evaporation of tears. Meibomitis refers to the inflammation of these oil glands and Blepharitis refers to the inflammation of the roots of the eyelashes. Very often, bacteria resides in these glands and make the inflammation worse.
What will I feel if I have this condition?
You may have one or a few of the following symptoms:
(2) Burning sensation
(3) Redness of the eyes
(4) Foreign body sensation (eg, feeling like there is sand in the eyes)
(5) Redness and/or swelling of the eyelid margin
How can it be treated?
This is a long term problem which cannot be totally eradicated, but can be controlled with the following measures:
(1) Lid hygiene
Commercial eyelid cleaning solutions are available and these can be used to clean the eyelid margins and eyelashes twice a day.
(2) Warm compresses
Use a clean face towel and run it under hot water. Apply to the eyes to warm the eyelids. This increases temperature of the oil in the glands, causing the to be more liquid and easier to be expressed.
(3) Artificial tears
As increased tear evaporation leads to dry eyes, artificial tears are used to reduce discomfort. In mild cases, use of preserved artificial tears up to 4 times a day may be adequate. In severe cases, we recommend the use of preservative free artificial tears, which can be used more than 4 times a day and even used every few minutes. Eye ointments tend to lubricate the eye for longer periods but may lead to slightly blurred vision. These ointments are useful at night.
(4) Antibiotics to the eyelid
Antibiotic ointment can be applied to the eyelids to reduce the bacterial load on the eyelids and hence reduce inflammation.
(5) Anti-inflammatory eye drops
In severe cases, anti-inflammatory eye drops containing steroid may be necessary to reduce inflammation. This will prevent excessive damage to the surface of the eye.
Not all the above may be needed at the same time. Your doctor will assess your eyes and formulate a treatment method for you.