Blepharitis is reddened, itchy, inflamed, and irritated eyelids. Blepharitis occurs when the oil glands (Meibomian glands) of the hair follicles, that are found on the eyelashes, get clogged or irritated by an infection.
There are two types of eyelid inflammation;
- Anterior Eyelid Inflammation: In this case, the inflammation occurs on the outside of the eye.
- Posterior Eyelid Inflammation: Here, the inflammation occurs on the inside edges/corners of the eyes.
The exact cause of blepharitis is unknown. However, factors that can increase the likelihood of having blepharitis include; eyelash lice or mites, dandruff on your scalp or eyebrows, a decrease or breakdown of the oil glands around the eyelashes, allergic reactions to makeup, and bacterial infections.
Symptoms of blepharitis include; reddened and irritated eyelid, burning sensation around the eyelids, a heightened sensitivity to light, scales that stick to the base of the eyelids, as well as crusting, swelling, and itching of the eyelids.
It is worthy of note that styes and chalazia are more common in people that often have blepharitis.
Blepharitis could be a source of great discomfort. Furthermore, leaving blepharitis untreated could degenerate to a serious eye infection.
Here are some tips and good practices to consider, when dealing with blepharitis;
- Avoid using eye makeup until the eye completely heals.
- You could place a moist teabag over your closed eyelids to help reduce pain, irritation, and inflammation.
- Avoid touching your eyes with dirty hands.
- You could take measures to deal with dandruff, lice, and mites. This could help hasten the healing process.
- You could visit your health care provider for a prescribed antibiotic as this could help sometimes.
- Ensure to wash your hands after touching the affected eye to prevent inadvertently infecting the other eye.
- Avoid the urge to rub an itchy infected eyelid as it could exacerbate the infection.
- Cleaning your eyelids carefully and often would help reduce the likelihood of having blepharitis.
- Applying warm compresses to the infected eye would help reduce the symptoms of blepharitis.
Below are potent home remedies for treating blepharitis;
Raw honey has powerful antibacterial and infection-fighting properties. Since it’s thick and viscous in nature, it moisturizes the eyelids preventing them from becoming dry and flaky.
Furthermore, honey would clear the dirt and impurities from the eyes. To get rid of eyelid inflammation, dip a cotton swab in honey and apply on the infected eyelid. Wash off with plain water after 20-30 minutes. For best results, perform this regimen in the morning and at night. Make sure you only use raw, unprocessed honey, preferably, manuka honey.
This herb has potent astringent and antibacterial properties. It’s especially effective in reducing puffiness, irritation, and redness.
Furthermore, chamomile boosts skin regeneration. Chamomile is available in the form of skin wash, poultice, skin creams, ointments, and tea. To make the herbal tea, steep chamomile teabag in water for 10-15 minutes, strain off and then drink while still warm. You can also apply the infusion on the affected area to reduce itchiness and inflammation.
3. Castor Oil
Castor oil is commonly used in making soaps, massage oils, and other cosmetic products. Castor oil has essential fatty acids which help to moisturize your eyelid. Secondly, it fights off inflammation and dryness that causes irritation. Since it has amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties, it fights infections and prevents them from coming back. To relieve the itching, wash the eyelashes with warm water, then apply the oil on your eyelid before going to bed. Rinse the eyes the following morning with warm water.
4. Warm Compress
The easiest way to get rid of eyelid inflammation is washing your face with warm water. This would loosen the crust and promote oil production from the meibomian glands. Just soak a washcloth in hot water, allow it to cool, then, place it over the closed eyelid. Clean any scales or oil debris collected by the washcloth thereafter. If both eyes are infected, you may want to use a different washcloth for the other eye.
5. Scrub Your Eyes With Baby Shampoo
To prevent the scaly patches and accumulation of oil residue on the eyelids, you should scrub your eyes often using baby shampoo. What’s more, the scrub would prevent the formation of crusts on the eyelids which may delay the healing process. To prepare the eyewash, add 3-5 drops of baby shampoo in two cups of warm water, then soak a cotton swab into the solution and scrub the base of your eyelashes. Once you clean both eyes, pat dry with a clean towel.
6. Aloe Vera
Due to its moisturizing, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, aloe vera is a reliable cure for blepharitis. Additionally, aloe vera can help to reduce burning sensation if you have an irritated feeling on your eyelids.
Furthermore, aloe vera fights the infection-causing organisms and reduces the redness. Just extract the gel from the herb, refrigerate it, and then rub it on the problem area in a circular motion. When you use the gel for 3-4 days, the itching and swelling will subside.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil helps to inhibit the bacteria on the eyelids thanks to the antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. Not only that, tea tree oil removes dandruff and soothes dry, flaking skin. Since the tea tree oil can irritate the skin, you should dilute it with coconut oil or olive oil.
To treat eyelid inflammation, mix two drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of carrier oil (olive oil/coconut oil), dip a clean cotton cloth into the solution, and then wipe across the end of your eyelashes. Make sure your eyes remain closed for about 5 minutes.
8. Coriander Seeds
The anti-inflammatory properties of coriander seeds help to unblock the oil glands and soothe the inflamed eyelids. Additionally, coriander seeds provide some relief from the itching and burning sensation. To prepare the infusion, boil 1-2 tsp of coriander seeds for 3-5 minutes, strain the solution, and then wash your eyes, twice a day, with the infusion.
This herb is widely used to treat eye infections. It has excellent soothing effects making it useful in reducing irritation and redness. You can use eyebright in the form of poultice, infusion, or herbal compress. To prepare the eyewash, boil dry eyebright herb in clean water for 10 minutes, strain off, and use it to clean the eyes twice a day. This remedy is not suitable for lactating and pregnant women.
10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To keep eyelid inflammation at bay, you should eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseeds, trout, walnuts, chia seeds, mackerel, and wild-caught salmon. These foods maintain a healthy functioning of meibomian glands which plays a crucial role in lubricating the eyes. Besides that, they help to boost the immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available in the form of supplements. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.
11. Indian Lilac
One of the contributing factors to blepharitis is dandruff. Thankfully, you can use Indian lilac to get rid of dandruff and crust due to Indian lilac’s anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Best of all, it helps to soothe the pain caused by eyelid inflammation. To make an infusion, boil some Neem leaves in a pot of water for 10-15 minutes, then use it to rinse your hair twice a week.
12. Keep Your Eyelid Healthy
The easiest way of preventing blepharitis is by keeping your skin healthy. To maintain proper eyelid hygiene, you should wash your eyes with a cleansing solution as advised by your doctor. This way, you prevent the scaly patches or eyelids from forming on your lashes. Furthermore, to prevent re-occurrence of the condition, regularly wash your eyebrows and scalp with an antibacterial shampoo.
13. Lavender Oil
If you have inflamed eyelids, lavender essential oil can provide some relief. Apart from its strong scent, it has monoterpenes which contribute to its antiseptic and therapeutic properties. Just dip a cotton swab in lavender oil and apply on the eyelids. Use it, every day, to moisturize your eyes.
14. Petroleum Jelly
If you have anterior blepharitis (caused by lice in the hair) you should apply petroleum jelly on the eyelashes to suffocate the lice. For this remedy, you should clean your fingers. Then, close your eyes and apply the jelly on the eyebrows and eyelashes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water after 20-30 minutes. Since petroleum jelly is non-toxic, it has no harmful effect when it gets into contact with your eyes.
Due to its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, calendula is effective in treating the symptoms associated with eyelid inflammation like itchiness, swelling, and scaly appearance. Also, this herb treats the root cause of the eye infection. To eliminate the irritation and burning sensation, place cool calendula teabags on your eyes. You can also apply calendula gel on your eyelids after cleaning your eyes with warm water.
When you apply potato on the affected area, it would reduce the swelling and irritation caused by blepharitis. Furthermore, it will provide some relief if you’re experiencing some pain. Simply prepare a pack by grating a fresh potato then place it over the affected eyelids. Alternatively, slice a potato and place on the eyelids for 20 minutes. To achieve a satisfactory result, use the treatment 2-3 times a day.
Comfrey is packed with phenol acid and tannins which makes it effective in curing numerous skin infections. Furthermore, comfrey gives a soothing and cooling effect on the skin, thus, eliminating the gritty feeling caused by blepharitis. This herb is also helpful in regenerating damaged skin tissues.
18. Hot Shower
When taking a shower, we always close our eyes with our faces turned upward. The hot water will help to remove the crust formed within the eyelids. Moreover, it will reduce the inflammation and the burning sensation.
This household spice has potent antibacterial properties which help in quick recovery from eyelid inflammation. Additionally, it moisturizes the affected area not to mention it prevents the reoccurrence of the infection. Furthermore, turmeric is more effective when mixed with natural honey. For best results, only use turmeric paste to treat the infection at the initial stages.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is a natural herb that helps to fight the bacteria that causes inflammation on the eyelids. Besides healing scaly skin, mullein stimulates the synthesis of tissues and gives a cooling effect on the infected eyelid. You can use the herb in the form of capsules, tea, extracts, and infusions. It’s more effective when combined with marshmallow and comfrey. However, avoid using this herb if you’re pregnant.
Black currant contains essential fatty acids which promote healthy skin and hair. It works by restoring moisture on an inflamed eyelid to prevent flakes. To keep blepharitis at bay, you should consume 500mg two times a day. If you note some changes after a few weeks, you should reduce the dosage by half. You can also eat the fruit to get rid of the condition. As a cautionary measure, avoid using black currant externally.
Flaxseeds contain large amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids which support healthy skin. To get the benefits, you can either chew the seeds or incorporate them into your diet. While they will not prevent reoccurrence of the symptoms, the can treat inflamed eyelids in just a few days. You can also apply flaxseed oil on the eyelids to make them less inflamed in the morning.
23. Boric Acid
Boric acid is commonly used as an antiseptic due to its antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal effects. To treat blepharitis, dissolve one tsp of boric acid powder in a cup of water and apply on the eyelids using a cotton ball. Use this boric acid eyewash 2-3 times a day.
24. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil can help to get rid of inflamed eyelids within two weeks. When taken internally, it helps to restore moisture on the skin and hair thanks to its gamma-linoleic acid component. Simply apply the oil on the eyelid gently and then wash off after 5-10 minutes.
Goldenseal is packed with hydrastine alkaloids which make it effective in the treatment of fungal, viral, and bacterial infections. It boosts your overall immunity and gives instant relief from blepharitis symptoms. The herb is available in the form of tincture, herbal tea, and capsules.
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