Blepharitis and Rosacea

What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelids. Oils normally secreted by the eye lids build up on the lid margins and on the lashes, resulting in irritation and redness.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition which also affects the eyes. Patients affected by rosacea may have redness of their cheeks and nose. Flushing may occur after the consumption of alcohol, hot drinks or spicy food. Papules and pustules may develop.

In the eye, the eye lid margins become red and inflamed. Pustules and cysts called Meibomium cysts may develop in the eye lids. Blepharitis is a frequent component of rosacea. The eye themselves may be red and irritated. Eventually abnormal blood vessels may grow into the cornea, the clear part of the eye.

How can blepharitis and rosacea be treated?

Blepharitis and Rosacea are skin conditions that may be with you for a lifetime. Treatment is aimed at minimizing your symptoms and making you more comfortable. The mainstay of treatment is careful cleaning of the eyelids and lashes to remove the irritating substances.

To obtain the best results, please follow the instructions listed below twice a day. Regular lid hygiene should become part of your daily routine.

1. Avoidance
Avoid excessive sun exposure, alcohol, spicy foods and hot liquds.

2. Warm Compress
Soak a clean face washer in warm water, as warm as the lids can stand and apply it to the closed lids for 5-10 minutes. You may need to re-warm the face washer a number of times. This will melt the oils and make them easier to remove. Next take a cotton wool ball dipped in warm water and wipe the lashes in a downward direction several times.

3. Lid Cleaning
Place a small quantity of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in the palm of your hand. Add a small quantity of water to it and mix with the tip of a cotton bud. Stand in front of the mirror tilt the chin down and pull the lower lid down with the index finger of one hand. Clean the lower lid margin using a side to side motion.

Next tilt the chin up and pull the upper lid up slightly with the index finger of one hand. Holding the cotton bud in the other hand, gently but firmly, rub in a side to side motion along the base of the eye lashes for the length of the upper lid.

4. Artificial Tear Drops
Artificial tear drops, preferably without preservatives, can be used throughout the day to flush the eyes out and remove oils from the surface of the eye.

5. Application of Ointment
If an antibiotic ointment has been prescribed, this should be applied after the warm compresses and lid cleaning. Apply 1cm of ointment to the tip of one clean index finger. Close the eyes and, starting at the inner corner, spread the ointment along the length of the lid margins.

6. Oral Antibiotics
Sometimes antibiotics called Doxycycline may be prescribed. The precise mechanism of action of this antibiotic in blepharitis and rosacea is not known, but they are thought to alter the nature of the oily secretions produced by the glands in the eye lids, making them less toxic to the surface of the eye. These antibiotics cannot be prescribed to women who may become pregnant during their use.

When will I see some results?

If you follow the above instructions, you can expect the redness and irritation to improve within 2-8 weeks. You should continue on with the treatment. Stopping the treatment will most likely result in a recurrence of the problem.
Change the text size


Suite 15, Mater Medical Centre
76 Willetts Road
Mackay QLD 4740


(07) 4942 3301


(07) 4942 9815


The information provided here is for general education only and should not be construed as individual medical advice. For advice relevant to your particular situation, please speak to Dr Hornsby.