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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2013-09-14 (EDT)


Causes Infection, Hygiene, Personal Care Products
See Also Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat Conditions, Conjunctivitis
Books Books on Head, Ears, Nose and Throat Conditions
Articles Articles on Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat Conditions

Blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelids, specifically the margins of the eyelids. It usually results in redness of the eyes and itching or irritation of the eyelids.

Naturopathic Assessment

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With blepharitis, the causes are variable and include infections and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to Blepharitis.



  • * Blepharitis is often caused by bacterial infection of the eyelids.
  • An infestation of the lashes by tiny mites or head lice can cause blepharitis.


  • A common cause of blepharitis is personal care products that are old or have been contaminated.

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Certain medication such as the acne medication isotretinoin can result in an increase in bacteria on the eyelids and lead to blepharitis [2]


  • Malfunctioning of the oil glands in the eyelids can place an individual at greater risk for developing blepharitis.

Common Questions

Common questions that may be asked by a physician are [1]:

  • Have you had this before?
  • How long have you had it?
  • What is your occupation?
  • Do you use eye cosmetics?
  • Do you use contact lenses?

Diagnostic Testing

Testing for blepharitis generally involves examining the eyelids and conducting a thorough eye examination. This is done to assess visual acuity as well as the cornea, conjunctiva, and pupils for any abnormalities. In some cases, the doctor may use a swab to collect a sample of the oil or crust that forms on the eyelid in order to test for bacteria, [[Fungal Infections|fungi], or a possible allergy. The scalp and eyebrows may also be examined for signs of dandruff. [1]

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Blepharitis tends to occur more commonly in the presence of the following conditions[1]:


Blepharitis is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid margin. Its appearance is often confused with conjunctivitis, and due to its recurring nature, it is the most common cause of "recurrent conjunctivitis" in older people. It is often treated as a 'dry eye' condition by patients due to the gritty sensation it may give the eye.[3]

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of blepharitis include[3]:

  • Red, irritated eyelids
  • Scales that stick to the base of the eyelashes
  • Sensation of having sand or dust in your eye when you blink
  • Eyelids may be:
  • crusty
  • reddened
  • swollen
  • itching
  • burning

Naturopathic Treatment

Home Care

Some home care strategies for the management of blepharitis include:

  • Apply a warm compress over the closed eye to loosen the crusty deposits on the eyelids.
  • Dip a cotton-tipped swab in warm water and rub it carefully along the edges of your eyelids to remove scales. Try to do this twice a day – in the morning and before you go to bed.
  • Avoid using eye makeup when the eyelids are inflamed, as makeup can make it more difficult to keep the eyes clean and free of debris and can also reintroduce bacteria to the area.
  • If dandruff is contributing to the blepharits, use a gentle dandruff shampoo.


There are many steps that can be taken to prevent blepharitis. This includes [1]:

  • Maintain good hygiene. Keep your hands, face, and scalp clean.
  • Avoid rubbing eyes with unwashed hands or an unclean towel.
  • Personal Care Products
  • Avoid or limit the use of eye makeup. If using eye makeup, be sure to replace it on a regular basis, at minimum twice a year. Always remove makeup, especially eye makeup, before bed.

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for blepharitis include:[4]

  • Gently apply pressure on the eyelids with a flannel facecloth soaked in very warm water for 5-10 minutes. This will help to soften the skin and any crusts that form on the eyelids.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Hordeolum (stye), Chalazion, Blepharitis, retrieved July 6, 2013, from
  2. Fraunfelder, F.T., and Edwards, Ralph (2001)Ocular side effects possibly associated with isotretinoin usage.American Journal of Opthalmology; 132(3):299-305
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Blepharitis, Retrieved on July 3, 2013, from
  4. Gaby, Alan R. 2011 Nutritional Medicine, Fritz Perlberg Publishing. Concord, NH.