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Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelash follicles along the edge of the eyelid. It can be caused by seborrhea dermatitis or a bacterial infection, and sometimes can be a combination of both. Allergies and eyelash infestation with lice may also cause blepharitis, although these causes are less common.

This condition is characterized by excess oil production in the glands near the eyelid. Too much oil creates an environment where the normal bacteria found on the skin can overgrow. The eyelids appear red and irritated, with scales that cling to the base of the eyelashes.

Belpharitis may be connected to repeated styes and chalazions. Risk factors include seborrheic dermatitis of the face or scalp, rosacea, lice, and allergies. Symptoms of the eyelids include crustiness of the eyelid, redness, swelling, and itchy, burning eyelids.

Treatment includes daily cleansing of the edges of the eyelids to remove the skin oils that the bacteria feed on. Usually baby shampoo or special facial cleansers can be used. Antibiotic ointments or drops along with oral antibiotics can also be used. Untreated blepharitis can lead to the following: styes, chalazions, corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, loss of lashes, and scarring of the eyelid.


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