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Want an Ingenious Solution for Blepharitis?

One reader discovered that a device designed to keep hands warm makes a good solution for blepharitis. Another found a tailor-made product.

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? One reader found a new product that helps.

OCuSoft Lid Scrub for Blepharitis:

Q. I have blepharitis, which makes my eyelids red and itchy. In searching for a solution for blepharitis, I used baby shampoo and hot compresses, per doctor’s order, for about ten years. Then a different eye doctor recommended OCuSoft lid scrub original cleanser. I love it! It’s so much easier to use than all that other stuff.

A. Doctors often recommend baby shampoo to remove crust from the eyelids because it is gentle and shouldn’t irritate the eyes. OCuSoft Lid Scrub contains several gentle detergents to remove oil and debris from the eyelids. Although there is no “house brand,” Systane also makes an eyelid cleanser and might also be worth a try.

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 www.eyeeco.com.

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. Instead, I started using T-gel and baby shampoo about 3 months ago and got immediate relief. Now I use only baby shampoo, 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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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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