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Burning Sensation, Redness or Itchiness In Eyes- It May be Blepharitis

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Burning Sensation, Redness or Itchiness In Eyes- It May be Blepharitis

4 min read


A burning sensation in the eyelid results from a condition called blepharitis and is very common. Read further to know more about this condition.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At November 3, 2013
Reviewed AtMarch 1, 2024

What Is Meant by Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a very common eye-lid disease affecting all and the sundry, but primarily affecting the children. In ophthalmic jargon, it is defined as the inflammation of eyelids. The margins of the eyelids become red or darkened in color and exhibit swelling and scaliness. Blepharitis typically impacts both eyes simultaneously. It can occur due to skin irritation from a skin condition, an infection, or blockage of the oil glands. All of these factors can occur simultaneously. Blepharitis refers to inflammation, but it can progress to an eye infection. Nevertheless, the majority of blepharitis cases are not contagious and are unlikely to result in blindness.

Do Various Types of Blepharitis Exist?

Two types of blepharitis exist, distinguished by their location on the eyelids. They are:

  • Anterior Blepharitis: Anterior blepharitis manifests when the front exterior of the eyelid, where the eyelashes emerge, becomes red or darkened in color, swollen, or when dandruff appears on the lashes.

  • Posterior Blepharitis: Posterior blepharitis occurs when the oil-producing meibomian glands beneath the eyelid generate thickened or unhealthy oil.

What Are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?

Blepharitis leads to the following symptoms in varying combinations:

What Are the Causes of Blepharitis?

Blepharitis may occur due to problems with the meibomian glands responsible for producing the oils present in tears, specific skin conditions, or infections.

Factors Leading to Anterior Blepharitis:

  • Acne Rosacea: Facial skin inflammation caused by rosacea can extend to involve the eyelids.

  • Allergy: Allergies to eye drops, contact lens solution, or makeup can lead to irritation.

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: Flaking dandruff can irritate the eyelids and induce inflammation.

  • Dry Eyes: Dry tear ducts can disrupt bacterial resistance, leading to infection.

  • Demodicosis: Ice or Demodex mites may obstruct eyelash follicles and glands around the eye. According to one study, approximately 30% of individuals with chronic blepharitis were found to have Demodex mites.

Factors Contributing to Posterior Blepharitis:

  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD): When the secretion from the meibomian glands becomes obstructed, individuals may experience dry eyes, leading to inflammation and potential infection.

  • Acne rosacea.

  • Dandruff.

What Confirms the Diagnosis of Blepharitis?

Diagnosing blepharitis doesn't rely on a single test but involves several steps. Initially, the eye care provider gathers the health history, assessing symptoms and potential risk factors. Next, an external examination of the eyelids determines appearance and severity based on signs like redness, discharge, and swelling. Cultures of eyelid discharge are sometimes taken to identify bacteria and their quantities. Tear tests evaluate dry eye involvement, while eyelash examinations under a microscope detect mites. In rare cases, an eyelid biopsy may be necessary to rule out abnormalities like skin cancer. This involves numbing the lid and taking a cell sample for microscopic analysis, typically leaving no scarring.

What to Do to Get Relief?

For certain forms of blepharitis, practicing self-care at home could alleviate symptoms. If you suspect you have blepharitis, consider these suggestions:

  • Refrain from using eye makeup to reduce irritation until the inflammation is under control.

  • Dampen a clean washcloth with warm water. Squeeze out any excess water and then place the cloth over the eyelids. Repeat this process as needed to maintain a consistent temperature of the cloth. Over time, the crusts will soften, making it easier to remove oily debris. Microwavable heat masks available for purchase can retain heat for longer periods and might offer enhanced effectiveness.

  • Certain studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, present in fish or flaxseed oil, can improve the function of the glands in the eyes. Consuming green, leafy vegetables and avoiding high-fat foods can also provide benefits.

  • Lid scrubs are accessible without a prescription, typically in the form of a spray, foam, or individually wrapped towelettes, often containing hypochlorous acid. They aid in reducing dandruff on lashes and decreasing bacterial levels on the skin of the eyelids.

Rx (possible medications):

  • Tab Doxycycline 100 mg once to twice daily for 7-14 days, depending upon the severity of the condition.

  • Eye ointment Nebracin is to be massaged twice daily over eyelid margins. Alternatively, erythromycin ointment or azithromycin could be used for seven to ten days.

  • Eye drops Refresh tears four to six times daily for seven to ten days.

  • Eye drops Cromyl forte 4 % thrice daily.

What Are the Complications of Blepharitis?

Individuals with blepharitis may also experience:

  • Eyelash issues may arise. Blepharitis can lead to eyelash loss, abnormal growth (misdirected eyelashes), or changes in color.

  • Skin problems on the eyelids may occur. Long-term blepharitis can lead to scarring on the eyelids. Additionally, the edges of the eyelids may turn inward or outward.

  • Excessive tearing or dryness in the eyes can occur. Irregular oily secretions and debris shed from the eyelids, such as flaking related to dandruff, may accumulate in the tear film, which consists of water, oil, and mucus and forms tears. An irregular tear film disrupts the maintenance of moisture on the eyelids, potentially leading to eye irritation and manifesting symptoms of either dry eyes or excessive tearing.

  • stye is an infection forming near the base of the eyelashes results in a painful lump along the eyelid's edge. Typically, a stye is most noticeable on the surface of the eyelid.

  • A chalazion develops when there is an obstruction in one of the small oil glands located at the edge of the eyelid, positioned just behind the eyelashes. This blockage triggers inflammation of the gland, leading to swelling and redness of the eyelid. This condition may resolve on its own or progress into a firm, painless lump.

  • Blepharitis may result in recurring episodes of conjunctivitis.

  • Prolonged irritation from inflamed eyelids or misaligned eyelashes can induce the formation of a corneal sore. Insufficient tear production may heighten the likelihood of a corneal infection.


If the condition does not resolve within 2 weeks, one must seek an urgent ophthalmic consultation to rule out pediculosis or a masquerading sebaceous carcinoma. The thick and thin of this article is that blepharitis is a very common condition but it can be easily prevented and treated by maintaining good ocular hygiene and taking proper medications. So, crust it off and take care of the eyes and health in general.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Causes of Blepharitis?

The various causes of blepharitis are:
- Clogged oil glands in your eyelids.
- Infection.
- Allergies.
- Dandruff of the eyebrows and scalp.
- Rosacea.
- Dry eyes.
- Eyelash lice.


Can Bacteria Cause Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a bacterial infection. It can happen at the lower part of the eyelids. A certain amount of bacteria are generally found in the skin. If the number of these bacterias exceeds the normal limit, then it is a problem.


How Can Blepharitis Be Cured Quickly?

The fastest way to cure blepharitis is by giving a warm compress over the eyelids. When giving a warm compress, it is necessary to keep your eyes closed. You can also massage the eyelids for five to ten minutes. It is also essential to clean the eyes all the time.


Can Blepharitis Affect Only One Eye?

In most cases, blepharitis occurs in both eyes. Medical reports suggest that only a few patients have one eye affected with blepharitis. If it occurs in one eye also, it is necessary to get treated as it will lead to secondary infections.


How Long Does Blepharitis Take to Clear Up?

Generally, blepharitis can take up to five or six weeks to clear up. Using medications or eye drops can fasten the recovery process. The patient can also use tea tree oil scrub once a week. You can discuss with your doctor and get tips for clearing up blepharitis soon.


Does Blepharitis Get Worse in the Morning?

The patient with blepharitis undergoes a lot of changes in the eyelashes. They will experience watering, crusting, and photophobia. The pain and discomfort are felt more in the morning time than the night. It is worse in the morning due to the closing of eyelids for a longer period of time.


What Happens if Blepharitis Is Left Untreated?

Blepharitis does not get healed on its own. Only in a few rare cases, the bacterial infection can get cured by itself. Otherwise, blepharitis is a chronic condition, and medications are absolutely necessary. In severe cases, if blepharitis is left untreated, it can result in cancer of the eyelid.


Does the Usage of Mascara Make Blepharitis Worse?

Yes, mascara can make blepharitis worse. Mascara products can accumulate a lot of wax on the eyelids. For patients who have already been affected with blepharitis, any cosmetic products used in the eyes will increase the level of irritation and inflammation. In addition to this, there will be obstruction of the oil glands. So it is not advised to use mascara when you have blepharitis.


Is Blepharitis a Chronic Condition?

Yes, blepharitis is a chronic condition. The patient suffers severe discomfort and irritation with blepharitis. The symptoms might get worse in the morning. Medications should be given for reducing the inflammation and overcoming the bacterial infection. If it is not treated in the earlier stage, it might result in severe complications.


Will Saltwater Help in Curing Blepharitis?

Saltwater is a good home remedy for blepharitis. It is highly beneficial for eye infections. Salt is known to contain antimicrobial properties. Over the counter medications are also available to treat bacterial infections like blepharitis.


Does Vaseline Help in Curing Blepharitis?

Blepharitis should be treated depending on the cause for occurrence. If blepharitis is caused by mites or lice, then petroleum jelly products like Vaseline can be added to the base of the eyelashes to cure the condition. Lubrication of dry eyes should be provided with the help of artificial tear solutions.


Do Eye Drops Help With Blepharitis?

Yes, eye drops can help to cure blepharitis. Antibiotics that are prescribed by the doctor should be applied to the eyelids to get relief from the symptoms. Medications are also available in the form of ointments and creams. If topical applications of antibiotics are not helpful, then the doctor will prescribe appropriate antibiotic pills for oral consumption.


How Do You Treat Mites in the Eyelashes?

The best option for treating mites in the eyelashes is tea tree oil. An ingredient called terpinene is found in tea tree oil. It can help in fighting against mites in the eyelashes. Tea tree oil is often diluted as per the recommendation of the doctor before usage.


What Are the Complications of Blepharitis?

The complications of blepharitis are:
- Dry eyes.
- Injury to the cornea.
- Formation of the sty.
- Scarring in the eyes.
- Falling out of the eyelashes.
- Chalazion.
- Pink eye.
Dr. Abhishek Onkar
Dr. Abhishek Onkar

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


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