Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the eyelids and often causes itching and irritation. The eyelids can appear red and swollen, with crusty or flaky skin around the edges of the lids.

What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a permanent condition that may get better or worse over time. It is caused by inflammation of the skin and/or the meibomian glands, which are found along the edge of the eyelid at the base of the eyelashes.

While there is no direct connection between blepharitis and glaucoma, many people with glaucoma also have blepharitis.

Blepharitis is not a contagious condition and cannot be transferred by using the same pillow, facecloths or towel.

There are several different types of blepharitis, and each has different treatments. Your eye health professional will assess your condition and make a recommendation for the best treatment.

It may take a few weeks before you notice the effects of any treatment so patience is important.

Controlling the Condition

The key to controlling Blepharitis is to keep your eyelids and eyelashes clean.  Eyelid-cleaning solutions and eyelid wipes are available or you can make them at home. If you are advised to use sodium bicarbonate solution.

You should prepare a fresh solution each day as follows: Sodium bicarbonate solution, Add a quarter of a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to a cup of cooled boiled water and mix thoroughly.

  • The key to controlling the condition is to keep your eyelids and eyelashes clean
  • Always wash your hands first
  • Use cotton eye pads dipped in warm, previously boiled water
  • Use each cotton eye pad once on only one eye only and then discard
  • Several cotton eye pads may be required for each eyelid
  • Never place a used eye pad back into the cleaning solution
  • Do not clean inside eyelids
  • Thoroughly cleanse the edge of eyelids and remove any crusts, paying particular attention around the base of eyelashes

You may also be given antibiotics to treat the blepharitis. Always finish the course of tablets. If you have any side effects when taking antibiotics, discuss with your doctor immediately.

There is currently no single treatment for blepharitis however new treatments and procedures for blepharitis are currently being developed.

Both cataracts and glaucoma become more common with increasing age. Many people over 60 may have both.

Find out more about glaucoma and cataracts

People with glaucoma are at higher risk of dry eye because some glaucoma treatments can worsen the ocular surface

Find out more about glaucoma and Dry Eye


Help us make a difference

Your donation will help us to save sight and continue helping people with glaucoma get access to the information and support they need.


Join Glaucoma NZ

Get the support you need

Glaucoma NZ provides free information, support materials and invites to events to help you and others live well with glaucoma.

Join Glaucoma NZ