Are your eyelids red, swollen, or sore? Do your eyes feel itchy, tired, dry, or otherwise irritated?
Like millions of other Americans, you may be experiencing blepharitis- inflammation of the eyelid.1 This inflammation can lead to issues in your eye itself, such as dry eye disease. Though they feel similar, there are actually two different types of blepharitis- anterior and posterior. Each is slightly different in what causes it and how it should be taken care of.
What Exactly is Anterior Blepharitis?
Anterior blepharitis involves inflammation in the areas around the front edge of your eyelid, including the skin and eyelash follicles.
It can be caused by various other disorders like dermatitis, allergies, and infections in the hair follicles. Bacterial and viral infections and infestations of Demodex mites (eyelash mites) are also common culprits. While it is not usually very serious, it can be rather uncomfortable and unsightly, and if the inflammation gets too severe it can cause damage to the eye.2
Symptoms include swelling, redness, warmth, and pain in the eyelid, loose or misaligned eyelashes, and flaking skin or dandruff around the eye.
Fast, Temporary Relief
There are a few quick, easy ways to reduce the symptoms and discomfort associated with blepharitis.
Lubricating eye drops or artificial tears can moisten your eyes and decrease irritation associated with dry eye.
You can also take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (the primary ingredient in over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol™, Motrin™, etc.) or to reduce swelling and inflammation-related pain.
Unfortunately, these are more short-term solutions that don’t really address the underlying problem. Chronic, or long-term or recurring, blepharitis requires more stringent measures to clear up the source of the inflammation.
Targeting Anterior Blepharitis at Its Source
Maintaining proper hygiene is important for relieving inflammation associated with anterior blepharitis. Many doctors recommend washing your eyes with baby shampoo diluted in warm water as a gentle cleansing method.3 While this does help remove irritants, simply washing with soap and water does not get rid of any underlying infections.
A compound that has been shown to address some of the underlying causes of blepharitis, particularly eyelash mites, is 4-terpineol.
4-terpineol is a natural compound found in tea tree essential oil and is powerful in eliminating mite infestations.4 That’s why 4-terpineol is the main component in Cliradex products.
For established mite infestations, Cliradex towelettes are the way to go. They have a strong enough concentration of 4-terpineol to kill mites but are still gentle enough to use for the month or so needed to eliminate an infestation. As an added bonus, 4-terpineol has been demonstrated to promote lower levels of inflammation.5
For more serious cases of blepharitis, be sure to see your eye doctor. If symptoms are not going away with conventional therapies, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat underlying bacterial infections.1
Cleanliness is the Key to Prevention!
You can reduce your chances of contracting an infection or mite infestation in the first place by taking certain precautionary steps.
Although sharing is usually nice, you should not share cosmetics like makeup and face creams. Also, keep your makeup brushes clean and use makeup within its expiration date to reduce the chances of contamination.
Keeping your face clean and healthy is also very important! Proper hygiene will keep irritants like dust, pollution, and allergens off your skin and can keep infections from taking hold.
Cliradex Light facial cleanser contains a low concentration of 4-terpineol, optimized to keep mites and infections at bay. Without the extra irritating ingredients from tea tree oil or harmful preservatives, Cliradex Light is ideal for your daily facial hygiene routine.
Natural, vegan, and preservative-free, Cliradex is an excellent choice for maintaining your ocular health.
1. Lemp MA, Nichols KK. Blepharitis in the United States 2009: a survey-based perspective on prevalence and treatment. The ocular surface. 2009;7(2 Suppl):S1-s14.
3. Lindsley K, Matsumura S, Hatef E, Akpek EK. Interventions for chronic blepharitis. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2012(5):Cd005556.
4. Tighe S, Gao YY, Tseng SC. Terpinen-4-ol is the Most Active Ingredient of Tea Tree Oil to Kill Demodex Mites. Translational vision science & technology. 2013;2(7):2.5.
5. Nogueira MN, Aquino SG, Rossa Junior C, Spolidorio DM. Terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol (tea tree oil components) inhibit the production of IL-1beta, IL-6 and IL-10 on human macrophages. Inflammation research : official journal of the European Histamine Research Society [et al]. 2014;63(9):769-778.