solution for blepharitis

Blepharitis is the technical term for inflamed eyelids. There are many potential causes of symptoms such as redness, itching and swelling of the eyelid, so an eye care specialist should make the diagnosis. Sometimes, it is associated with acne rosacea. Infection with bacteria or fungus may also trigger eyelid inflammation. Dry eyes resulting from dysfunction of the meibomian glands may be the source of the problem. Meibomian glands produce oil to help coat the surface of the eye and keep it moisturized. When they get plugged, the result can be very irritating. What is the solution for blepharitis?

Is There a Solution for Blepharitis?

Q. I have had a bad case of blepharitis for many years. It looks like pimples on my eyelids.

My doctor prescribed eyedrops for dry eyes, an antibiotic that merely clogs up the sebaceous glands even worse and hot compresses.

The problem is that I am supposed to keep a hot compress on the eyes for anywhere from three to fifteen minutes. It’s impossible to keep a washcloth or a gauze pad hot for more than about a minute.

I discovered a great solution for blepharitis. Using a ‘hand warmer’ works like a champ. This is a packet that one shakes to activate and then can stuff in a glove to keep one’s hands warm in winter. Once the hand warmer reaches target temperature, it stays warm for hours. It’s hot enough to provide relief but not so hot that it hurts the eyes. This way I don’t need to constantly replenish the wet compress with hot water or warm it in the microwave.

Another Solution for Blepharitis:

A. Thank you for sharing this intriguing idea. Another option for people with dry eyes is a Dry Eye Relief Mask (DERM). This moist-heat compress contains tiny silica beads which can be warmed in the microwave. It too lasts more than a minute and may prove an alternative to the hand warmer. There is more information at

Heat can help make the oils in the meibomian glands of the eyelids less thick. This in turn can help ease blepharitis and dry eye syndrome.

Will Dandruff Shampoo Offer a Solution for Blepharitis?

Other readers report that washing the lids gently with dandruff shampoo can help ease blepharitis temporarily. Here is one person’s story:

Q. After having increasingly itchy and swollen eyelids for over a year, I tried the dandruff shampoo solution mentioned in your column. It worked and I have had no problems at all in over two months. I am so relieved and grateful! No more blepharitis.

A. Some doctors recommend applying dandruff shampoo (T/Gel) to the eyelids while showering. Such shampoos knock out yeast that lives on the skin and causes seborrheic dermatitis. Be very careful to keep shampoo out of eyes!

If eyelid inflammation is due to bacterial overgrowth, a commercial eyelid cleanser such as SteriLid might be helpful. We have heard that mineral oil applied carefully with a cotton swab to the edge of the lower eyelid may also aid in controlling some forms of blepharitis.

DEH offered this testimonial:

“I began having blepharitis over a year ago, went to 2 doctors and was prescribed antibiotics. Eye scrub pads were also recommended. I had 4 outbreaks in one year and by the last one, antibiotics and eye scrubs did not work at all and actually made the problem worse. I started using T-gel and baby shampoo about 3 months ago and felt immediate relief. I use only baby shampoo now-twice each day and have not had another outbreak. In December I looked like I had lost a prize fight and now in March, I am almost completely symptom-free-only a little tearing each morning. I am so happy I saw this advice on The People’s Pharmacy!”

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  1. Catherine
    Central Florida

    I’ve been having dry skin at the edges of my eyes and the skin near the nose near the front of the eye. Very itchy and scaly, and the skin keeps pealing off. Is this blepharitis? My eye waters and itches on the skin and sometimes eyelid. My eye swelled, and the crease cracked. I used Neosporin on the crack. It healed but am still having very dry skin in the ends and the inside skin area near nose.

  2. Toby

    Get a pair of Baby socks
    Add rice tie with wool or string etc
    Heat for about 25 seconds
    I wet half a cloth and place socks on dry side
    Hold wet side over eyes for about 5 minutes
    after I wash eyes with baby shampoo

  3. Ginny F.

    I may have had blepharitis as a child but it was dormant for many years. In the recent past, as an adult in my 60’s, I was diagnosed as having it, by two different ophthalmologists. It comes and goes and is not a constant problem.

    I can relate to the warm compresses mentioned above but what a nuisance they are so I went online and ordered two dry eye compresses back in May 2018. Back then they were only $9.99 each. I use it about 2 or 3 times a week as a preventative measure. I heat one up in the microwave for less than 30 seconds. It was only 20 seconds when they were new. If I need a second one, I will then microwave it and use back to back. Very pleased with the results. Occasionally, I will hand wash them. It takes a long time for them to line dry. I place them on a clean face. I don’t use the straps on the compress and just place the eye mask directly on my eyes. Afterwards I wash my eyes out with diluted baby shampoo soap and then put in a certain type of OTC eye drops. The ophthalmologist suggested a number of brands.

  4. Trisha

    A few years ago I started having outbreaks of red, itchy, watering eyes. We thought it might be an allergy so went to allergy specialist who sent me to ophthalmologist. Never having to wear glasses in my life, I went for a complete eye exam for the very first time in 73 years. He told me I had blepharitis and recommended a simple daily procedure as described by others posting on this site. I wash my eyes once a day with baby shampoo and place warm compresses on my eyes for 2-5 minutes once a day. I use plain white washcloths I keep just for this purpose. No drugs!!!! Worked like a charm, and I’ve never had a problem since. Sometimes I get lazy and stop the regimen and start having itchy eyes. As soon as I repeat the baby shampoo wash and warm compresses it goes away.

    A year later I did have to start wearing glasses, and the eye doctor who tested me complemented the ophthalmologist who had diagnosed blepharitis and given me that simple treatment. My eye doctors’ comment was that it is too bad the first treatment often given is prescribing drugs when a simple home remedy often works best.

    One of my sisters recently visited me and complained she had tried everything including drugs for what seemed to me like the same problem. I explained my problem and treatment, and she immediately found it worked perfectly for her, too.

  5. Kathy
    Maple Valley, WA

    I used to wonder how I was getting black grit under my fingernails, and it turned out to be the hand warmers I was using. Those little bags leak! So they don’t seem like a very safe solution to use on your eyes.

  6. Edward

    I never knew I had blepharitis until I was being examined for cataract surgery. The surgeon picked it up. I had no prior symptoms and my regular opthamologist had never mentioned it. The surgeon prescribed “Avenova” spray solution, which is rather costly. I spray it on to cotton rounds that can be found in the HBA section of any CVS or Walgreens. Cotton balls also work. When it runs out I will move over to water diluted baby shampoo (4 to 1). For those with symptoms it may be better to use a water diluted dandruff shampoo.

  7. Pat

    Heating 2 small red potatoes in the microwave for 1 minute is also a great solution for a way to keep the hot compress warm. Scrub the potatoes first and poke with a fork – so they don’t explode; then use a wash cloth dipped in warm/hot water, wring it out, and roll the heated potatoes in the washcloth and place on eyelids. The potatoes stay hot/warm for 10+ minutes. And the same potatoes can be re-used multiple times.

  8. Patsy
    Dacula, HA

    Did the user combine the Teel and baby shampoos or use them separately? I’ve been struggling with meiobium gland inflammation and dry eyes for years.

  9. Al

    I tried all of the treatments described. None of them consistently worked for blepharitis. What has worked perfectly for the last several years is twice daily use of Avenova Spray Solution or Heyedrate Lid & Lash Cleanser

  10. Florence

    I have used Neem salve with much success.

  11. CMK

    I have used baby shampoo, for decades, to wash my lids ever time I shower.

  12. Melody

    Dry eyes and itchy lids have been a problem for me for years. Doctors recommended warm compresses, saline rinses, lid scrubs, eye moisturizers and antihistamines. They did not think an antibiotics was needed. I learned from People’s Pharmacy to use dandruff shampoo, T-Gel or Nizoral. These helped but did not completely resolve the problem. I took an OTC product called Candida Cleanse because of itchy skin and a stubborn sinus headache. Docs didn’t think I had a yeast infection, but after reading reviews of Candida Cleanse and why other people took it, I decided to give it a try. Sinus headache is history and my blepharitis and itchy eye lids are also history. This is the first winter my eyes, eye lids, and nasal passages have been comfortable when the humidity dropped. No bloody nose, no red eyes or red, itchy lids. I think yeast may have been the culprit for years. My eye doctor noted that there was very little bacteria at the base of my lashes. She never told me I had excessive bacteria on my lids! Thank goodness for People’s Pharmacy, Candida Cleanse, and comments for other people. Hope my comments help someone else.

  13. Rita

    A few drops of baby shampoo on a small bottle of water,shake, and gently scrub eyelids twice a day with a Q tip does the trick.
    I have been doing this for at least 20 years and have not had a single outbreak of blepharitis.

  14. Kathy
    Tampa, FL

    I use Novartis Eye Scrub twice a day as recommended by my ophthalmologist and it keeps the blepharitus away. I’ve recommended it to others who have been helped by it too. Worth a try if you’re suffering from this condition. It’s easy and quick.

  15. Jane

    You cam make your own warm eye compress device with half of a sock filled part way with rice and tied off with string at the open end. 45 seconds in the microwave provides heat for 5-10 minutes. There is a bit of a smell from the rice but it is a great use of an old clean sock.

  16. Carling
    South Carolina

    I’ve had blepharitis my entire life. I recall my mother putting salve in my eyes as a preschooler. I get tiny cysts which feel like eyelashes in my eyes. My thick, long lashes began to fall out at about age 60. About 5 years later the rims of my upper lids became thickened by a layer of white scar tissue — giving me “pig eyes”. Every ophthalmologist has said, “We don’t know what causes it.” Has anyone had success treating this chronic condition?

  17. Marilynn
    NE Illinois

    My eye doctor recommended washing with diluted baby shampoo. Works!

  18. Jane

    Wash your eyes daily with baby shampoo. Symptom free for over 3 years now.

  19. Nancy
    North Carolina

    My ophthalmologist recommended washing your eyes using baby shampoo to help with the swelling, itchy redness. It doesn’t irritate the eyes and helps with this problem.

  20. Dino
    Salisbury NC

    If away from home and your eyelid itch becomes unbearable try chapstick, it’s easy with no mess; works for me.

  21. Linda

    I had no idea why my eyes were hurting. After going to an eye doctor for an examination, he said to use baby shampoo 4 times a day to wash out my eyes (doesn’t hurt eyes). Using warm water to do this also helped as well as a warm cloth warmed in the microwave. It took about a month to get over Blepharitis. No antibiotics were needed – very simple.

  22. Ellen

    I now use eye wipes twice a day.
    Have not had another outbreak since.

  23. Helen
    Chapel Hill

    I use tea bag, soaks in hot water, then put it in a plastic bag, (then apply it to my eye.) I can also reuse the tea bag by putting it in the microwave to warm it up.
    I have a question, I use Cetaphil to clean my face, can I use it on my eye also, instead of baby shampoo? Does baby shampoo has special ingredient in it? Thanks so much.

  24. KitKat
    Central Texas

    Some doctors recommend applying dandruff shampoo (T/Gel) to the eyelids while showering. Such shampoos knock out yeast that lives on the skin and causes seborrheic dermatitis. Be very careful to keep shampoo out of eyes!

    How in the world does one apply a thick liquid to the eyelid and keep it out of the eye. This is impossible.

  25. Marcy
    Perry Hall, Md

    I had shingles in the face in June 2017. The doctor said blepharitis. I was given antibiotics, eye drops, plug, etc. Nothing relived the feeling of dirt under the eye lid. If I could roll the lid back and washed it out would feel good. After reading this I’m going to try the shampoo and warmers. If I would apply warm compressions, it would feel better. I will let you know if this works.

    • Aline

      I also used baby shampoo and hot compresses per doctor’s order. After 10 years a different eye doctor said try this and he handed me a packet called OCuSoft lid scrub original cleanser. So much easier than all that other stuff. So for the last 10 years I used one of these pads in the shower to scrub my eyelids and I love these. Either Walmart or Amazon have the best prices.

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