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  • Writer's pictureDr. Zimski

Is There A Cure For Blepharitis?

Updated: 15 hours ago

Blepharitis is a condition that causes redness and irritation on the eyelids. Dandruff-like crusts may also be a telltale sign. It typically occurs along the edges or margins of the eyelids.  It is a chronic condition and can be difficult to treat.  

A consistent homecare regimen is essential to treating blepharitis. A daily eyelid-cleaning routine can keep recurring blepharitis at bay. But if you have a severe case that you just can’t shake, contact a doctor to determine whether you need specialized treatment.

Read on to get Dr. Lauren Zimski’s advice about blepharitis and how her Denver-area patients have successfully solved their dry eye problems.

What is Demodex Blepharitis? Denver skyline

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation along the edges of the eyelids. The eyelids can become red, irritated or itchy, and appear greasy with crusted scales that cling to the lashes. People with blepharitis sometimes wake with their eyelids stuck together. Others may wake with dried tears around their eyes and a feeling of sand in their eyes. 

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling like there’s something in your eye

  • Burning or stinging eyes

  • Watery eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Red and swollen eyelids

  • Dry, burning eyes

  • Crusty eyelids or eyelashes when you wake up

  • Itchy eyes

  • Sticky eyelashes and eyelids

  • Greasy looking eyelids

  • Flaky skin around the eyes that looks like dandruff

Blepharitis often causes discomfort and can lead to: 

  • Blurry vision, particularly fluctuating vision 

  • Eyelashes falling out or grow in the wrong direction

  • Recurrent styes (chalazion)

  • Corneal scarring

The hallmark of blepharitis is plugging of the oil glands that make the oil layer of the tear film (meibomian glands). This occurs from overgrowth of bacteria on your eyelids to mites known as Demodex (more on these guys further down). Ocular rosacea is another common cause of blepharitis and can occur before signs of facial rosacea.

What is Demodex Blepharitis?

Demodex is a parasitic mite that lives on human hair follicles. Don’t be alarmed—they’re part of our normal microbiome (the collection of all microbes that naturally live on our bodies).

But when too many of these little critters are on the eyelids and eyelashes, this can lead to Demodex blepharitis—a common cause of dry eye, styes, eye irritation, redness, and contact lens intolerance.

How do you know if you have Demodex blepharitis? One indication is the appearance of cylindrical dandruff (collarettes) at the base of the eyelashes. 

Diagnosing and Treating Blepharitis

Before we can pursue treatment options, you need to make sure you actually have blepharitis. If you’re experiencing the symptoms listed, Dr. Lauren Zimski is an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) in Denver who can make a diagnosis. 

Blepharitis is usually a long-term (chronic) condition. That means that once it develops it can pop up again. Therefore, there is really no cure.

That said, a minor case can be managed at home when you have a flare-up. Popular home treatments include:

  • Artificial tear drops

  • A warm compress over your eyes

  • Cleaning your eyelids regularly

  • Massaging your eyelids

  • Avoiding eye makeup 

  • Refraining from wearing wearing contact lenses 

When these at-home treatments are not enough, in-office lid cleaning and debridement can be more effective. It involves a cleaning process for your eyelashes and eyelids that uses medical-grade products to remove stuck on biofilm and debris. 

In the past, the most commonly used treatment for Demodex blepharitis has been tea tree oil, which kills Demodex mites with its effective ingredient terpinen-4-ol. But it is also a harsh treatment that can irritate the eyes. In addition, these mites live deep in the eyelash follicles and meibomian glands which cannot be reached with a topical eyelid treatment.  

The first FDA-approved treatment for Demodex blepharitis was released this year by Tarsus and is called XDEMVY. This is used twice daily for six weeks and has been shown to be very effective in treating Demodex blepharitis.  It was designed to get to the root of the problem as it gets into the eyelash follicles and glands where the mites live. 

Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy has also been shown to kill Demodex mites by rapidly heating the mite which makes IPL another excellent treatment option.  

Want to learn more about blepharitis treatment? Dr. Zimski would love to work with you! You can schedule your first appointment online, or contact us with any questions using our online form. Need more ways to get in touch? Give us a call at 303-863-1231!


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