Skip to Content



Blepharitis is a swelling and irritation of the eyelids. It may be caused by a bacterial infection or clogged oil glands in the eyelids. It may be caused by certain skin problems that affect the face and scalp. These problems include acne rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. While you are asleep, your sores may drain and cause your eyelashes to stick together. Your eyelids may itch, burn, swell, or lose some of their eyelashes. Your eyes may be sensitive to light, or may be very watery (too many tears) or too dry. Blepharitis may recur (happen again) and need repeated treatment.



  • Always take your medicine as directed by your caregiver. If you feel it is not helping, call your caregiver. Do not quit taking it unless your caregiver tells you to.
  • Keep track of what medicines you are taking and when and why you take them. Bring a list of your medicines or the medicine bottles when you see your caregivers. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicines.
  • Antibiotic eye drops or ointment: Antibiotics help to kill bacteria (germs) that cause infection. Use your ointment or eye drops as instructed by your caregiver. Gently rub ointment into the eyelashes and eyelids with a clean finger or cotton tip swab. If you have antibiotic eye drops, avoid touching your eyes, hands, or anything else with the tip of the dropper. Your ointment or eye drops may also have steroids in them. Steroids may help to decrease eyelid inflammation (redness and swelling).
  • Eye-wetting drops: These eye drops can help keep your eyes moist (wet) if they are very dry. Use these drops when your eyes feel dry or as ordered by your caregiver.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

How can I take care of my eyes?

Your treatment will depend upon the cause of the blepharitis. Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after caring for your eyes. Instructions to care for your eyelids are as follows:

  • Apply warm compresses. Put a clean, warm washcloth (compress) on each eye for five or ten minutes, two or three times every day. Rewarm the washcloths when they get cold. Compresses help to loosen eyelash crusts, melt oil gland plugs, and decrease itching and burning.
  • Massage your eyelids. Ask your caregiver if you should massage your eyelids. Massaging may help break up the oil gland plugs and help decrease inflammation (redness and swelling). After you have finished applying a compress, use it to gently massage your eyelid edges. Gently massage in small circles for at least five seconds, especially on your lower eyelids.
  • Gently wash your eyelids. Wash your eyelid after you take the compress off of your eye. Make a mixture of two to three drops baby shampoo in one-half cup warm water. Dip a cotton swab or clean washcloth in this mixture. Close your eye. Pull your eyelid slightly forward, and clean your eyelid and eyelashes. Rinse your eyelid well with clean, warm water.
  • Get treatment for your skin problems. If you have acne rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis on your face or scalp, get treatment from caregivers. Get treatment for these problems at the same time that you get treatment for your blepharitis.

How can I help to prevent blepharitis?

  • Continue to gently wash your eyelids every day. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Dry your hands with a clean towel. Keep your hands away from your eyes.
  • If you have dandruff (flaky scalp), using shampoo that has selenium sulfide in it may decrease the dandruff. Read the label on the shampoo bottle before you buy it. This shampoo may be bought at a grocery or drug store. Wash your hair, scalp, and eyebrows with this shampoo. It will help control dandruff and may help you control your blepharitis.
  • Do not wear eye makeup or contact lenses until your caregiver says it is OK. Ask your caregiver before using any medicine or makeup near your eyes.


  • You have eye pain.
  • You have eyesight changes.
  • You have new symptoms. Medicines used to treat blepharitis may cause side effects.
  • You have symptoms that last longer than two weeks.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Blepharitis (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference