Keeping Your Eyelids Clean
Blepharitis is a common inflammation of the eyelids usually caused by a low grade infection. We learn when we are children to avoid getting soap in our eyes, so we don’t wash the edges of the lids. Eventually the bacteria, which normally lives on our skin causes redness and irritation.
Some people think that a little “sleep” in the eyes in the morning is normal. Not true! The crustiness and discharge is due to the eye’s response to the irritation of bacteria. The presence of the bacteria can cause sties and even a toxic kerititis (corneal inflammation) called staff hypersensitivity.
To prevent the build up of bacteria it is important to wash the eyelids everyday. This can be done with baby shampoo, Cetaphil skin cleanser, Sterilid or Ocusoft eyelid cleansers. These cleansers don’t sting if a little gets in the eyes. Young children can just close their eyes and wash the lids, then rinse. Older children and adults can look up and clean the lower lid at the edge of the margin at the base of the lashes, then close the eyes and wash the upper lid close to the lashes.
There are about 30 glands on the edge of each eyelid call the meibomian glands. They secrete a small amount of oil, which is spread across the eye with each blink forming an oily layer on the tears to prevent them from evaporating. These glands need to be kept free of bacteria to function normally and keep the eye dry from drying. Many people suffer from dry eyes when these glands are not functioning properly. This is called meibomian gland disfunction. It is more common as we age and with a skin condition called rosacea.
So keep your eyes comfortable and avoid infection by daily eyelid hygiene.