Blepharitis is an inflammation and mattering of the eyelashes. This is usually a persistent, recurring problem for a child and starts early in childhood and may last throughout the child's life. Often, there is a secondary infection of the eye and a loss of eyelashes.
Blepharitis may be caused by an infection with bacteria, an abnormal production and secretion of the sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands), or it may be associated with seborrhea. Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammation of the top layers of skin, characterized by red, itchy skin that sheds scales.
The following are the most common symptoms of blepharitis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
redness and scaling of the edges of the eyelids
burning of the eyes
your child rubbing his/her eyes
general discomfort of the eyes
seborrheic dermatitis on your child's head or face
Blepharitis is usually diagnosed based on a complete medical history and a physical examination of your child. Additional tests are not usually required to confirm the diagnosis.
Specific treatment for blepharitis will be determined by your child's physician based on:
your child's age, overall health, and medical history
the extent of the condition
your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
expectations for the course of the condition
your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
applying warm, wet, compresses to your child's eyes for a period of approximately 15 minutes several times throughout the day
instructing your child not to rub his/her eyes
having your child wash his/her hands frequently
antibiotic ointments for the eyes - antibiotic ointment does not make the blepharitis clear faster, but it may help to stop the spread of the infection to other parts of the eyes, or treat a secondary infection.
washing your child's face daily, including the eyes - this is done with a wet washcloth and a gentle baby shampoo. Rub your child's eyelids gently to help remove the crust.
If your child also has seborrheic dermatitis, along with blepharitis, treatment recommendations may include:
rubbing mineral oil on the head of infants with a soft toothbrush, followed by a gentle shampooing
special, antifungal shampoo, as prescribed by your child's physician
corticosteroid cream or lotion
Severe cases of blepharitis may need to be managed by an ophthalmologist (eye care specialist).
It is important to know that the goal of the treatment is to decrease the severity of the symptoms.
© 2014 Main Line Health