Last Modified on Jan 20, 2014
What Is Blepharitis?
As mucous membranes that are constantly exposed to the environment, the eyes are especially susceptible to disease and infection. One of the most common disorders of the eyes is Blepharitis. Blepharitis is a disorder that affects the eyelids, particularly the base of the lid where eyelashes grow. Characterized by intense inflammation, Blepharitis is a chronic condition that is extremely uncomfortable but does not typically cause any permanent damage to the eyesight or function of the eyes.
Generally caused by the malfunction of the oil glands at the base of the eyelashes, Blepharitis is often the result of hormonal imbalance or a number of other diseases and conditions. The root cause of Blepharitis is typically bacteria or infection caused by germs or virus.
Symptoms of Blepharitis range in intensity and frequency. Nonetheless, several symptoms and signs are fairly common including itchy, red, watery eyes; a stinging, burning, or painful sensation in the eyes; red, inflamed eyelids; flaking skin around the eyes, crusting of the eyelashes, or greasy eyelids. More severe cases of Blepharitis may also cause sensitivity to light, abnormal eyelash growth, and the actual loss of the eyelashes.
Natural Treatments for Blepharitis
As Blepharitis is a disorder that is commonly associated with the hygiene of the eye, it usually responds well to natural treatments. Dabbing castor oil around the eyes with a cotton ball before bed each night is generally an effective treatment for many. Covering the eyes with a warm, moist washcloth for 5-10 minutes each morning and evening and rinsing the eyes with a sensitive soap like baby soap has also offered many individuals relief. Topical application of coconut oil or tea tree oil is also natural way to experience relief from Blepharitis.
Blepharitis Prevention Remedies
[YEA] 10/26/2009: Max from Bayside, Ny: "Blepharitis-prevention. I have not had it in over 5 years. AM-I lie down and put a warm washcloth on eyes. Leave it there for 10 minutes. Shower and put the warm washcloth on my eyes while standing up for 3o seconds. Rub eyes with washcloth 7 x back and forth.Put baby shampoo on eyes and wash for 30 seconds. Rinse. Done. PM-I take a shower and repeat shower instructions. No meds needed greatest prevention."Replies
04/13/2012: Candice from Phoenix, Arizona replies: "What a frustrating condition! I was a fool when I was younger and used an incredibly strong product to remove my eye makeup and oh, it did the job! As well as beginning the onset of my insanely frustrating issues with blepharitis! For at least 3 years I struggled with this condition and the only thing that I could find to clear it up was a prescribed topical, but it would only last for a short while before coming back full force. I tried everything! It wasn't until I was doing research and saw some info about baby shampoo being gentle and helping out people with this condition. I had already tried everything and was willing to try anything else, so I gave it a go and it was wonderful! I not only washed my eyelids with baby shampoo daily, but I moisturized my eyelids and the skin under my eyes with baby lotion right afterward. Sometimes I use different variations of the lotion, like the night-time baby lotion or I'll mix the creamy baby oil with the baby lotion and use that.. But I always make sure to use a baby lotion product and it's absolutely fabulous! It has been at least 5 years since I've had to deal with blepharitis! I continue to incorporate the baby shampoo (which removes eye makeup like a charm by the way! ) and lotion into my daily regimen. Other than it keeping that horrible condition away (which is enough reason in itself to use the baby products) - I attribute it to my lack wrinkles around my eyes when all of my friends my age have them. I hope this combination helps someone else out there as it has me! :)"
08/11/2013: Jennifer from Mesa, Az replies: "I completely back up the baby shampoo comment. I use coconut oil, though, and take particular care to not put any of my other skin regimen on my eyelids. Before the shampoo, coconut oil, hot compresses, and occasionally topical antibiotic mixed with cetaphil soap- my eye-lid was SO bad that even philosophy miracle worker burned it. I remember a scab on my eyelid. It was so bad that I had to stop my latisse. Any one with this problem should try any and all of the above remedies, along with the other posters suggestions."
01/02/2014: Kerri from Warwick, R.i. replies: "I have been dealing with this since October. I had it years ago and it never got past redness part. I felt like I had something in my eyes, they burned, when I cry it makes it worse so I don't cry and believe me I would like to! It started in one eye, then went to the other and now both. Some days it feels like it is going away and the next its back.
I have oily eyelids, flaking and then peeling gross skin off my eye area, redness, soreness, itchiness, eyelashes here and there fall out and an ache or pain in my eye.
My Dr. gave me at first eye drops, ointment, but it didn't seem to clear and then I went on an oral antibiotic and just did the ointment and I have OTC drops. I went back 2 days before Christmas and he said looks good, the next day I started getting tough skin in the eye area and then it flaked and peeled off and it was gross. I am on a new eye ointment and one oral antibiotic a day.
I have too much going on I don't need another issue. I think that is all for now. I know now I am not alone, but it still stinks."
01/03/2014: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Kerri, some have had relief from dabbing Castor oil on the eyelids nightly, and some have done so with honey."
01/05/2014: Kerri from Warwick, RI replies: "I use an eye ointment at night now. How am I supposed to use the castor oil or the honey? I just find it strange putting honey there. How do you do it and how much? I am fed up with everything. The other day I thought it was clearing and then bam! It is back. My skin is tight again and it is going to start to peel. This isn't a way to start the New Year off."
01/06/2014: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Kerri, the only way I have seen it (honey or castor oil) applied, is dabbing it ON the eyelids, not INSIDE the eye. It probably works a bit slower than inside the eye, but to me it sounds safer. I imagine you can dab it on during the day and wash it off in an hour or so."
01/06/2014: Kerri from Warwick, R.I. replies: "Well I will try that. I have to give my Dr a call because I am so tired of this."
01/10/2014: Kerri from Warwick, R.i. replies: "Okay I saw my eye Dr. again the other day. I was told that this blepharitis has to do with the weather and that it is common. Why do I get all this crappy stuff? I was told to use the Systane drops a few times a day and to use the Tobramax (I think I spelled it right) all around my eyes. This thing has got me so irritable and moody and I can't cry because it hurts! I don't know if I can post pics here or not and don't see a link. I told someone I feel like/look like a reptile zombie. It is all red, sore, peely/blistery and I look horrible! I want it to ease already. :-("
EC: Hi Kerri, feel free to email us your pics and we can post them in your thread. However, our form doesn't allow upload of pics at the moment... sorry!
01/11/2014: Sp from Wb, Nj replies: "Hi Kerri, I don't know if your medication has steroids in it, but if it does or if you have ever used a product with steroids in it please do a search for "international topical steroid awareness network", their forum has a section on steroid induced eye irritations, or "topical steroid addiction", or "topical steroid withdrawal". Good luck."
01/11/2014: Kerri from Warwick, R.i. replies: "This is what I am on; TOBRADEX? (tobramycin and dexamethasone ophthalmic suspension) is a sterile, multiple dose antibiotic and steroid combination for topical ophthalmic use.
Between what I read online and what dr's say or don't say I get scared. I am not feeling good on top of this today. I am beginning to think my obgyn could help me better!
I don't see the email to send photos."
EC: It's on the contact us page: ec1(at)earthclinic(dot)com
01/12/2014: Sp from Wb, Nj replies: "Hi Kerri, can your doctor offer you a non-steroid medication? Some people are very sensitive to steroids and have a very bad reaction. Unfortunately, most doctors will not acknowledge that steroids are not a wonder drug for everyone. Please search and read about other people's eye experiences with steroids. You may or may not identify with what you read, but if it is a bad reaction steroids it will only get worse as long as you use the steroids. Think back to what ointment you have used around your eyes - did it have a steroid in it? From what you posted it sounds like a bad reaction to steroids. I think you should look into this possibility. There is a usually a long healing period with multiple flares where you get worse again before you get better. Good luck!"
[NAY] 09/27/2013: Maryalice from Eugene, Or: "I tried putting castor oil in my eyes for a couple weeks. At first, I thought it was working, but then my eyelids became puffier. Very sad this did not work, because at first my eyes themselves felt so much better. I am 43 and I thought I was relatively healthy - not on any prescriptions, but for some reason I have not had any luck with getting rid of this blepharitis/dry eye issue. I even moved from SW Colorado to Eugene, OR for more moisture! I may try the castor oil again, but would love if someone would post additional remedies - homeopathy, herbs, etc. Also, my blepharitis is just redness, I can't see any scaling, but it does cause red, dry eyes.... doesn't help that I am a computer programmer."
[YEA] 07/09/2011: Matt C from Phelps, Ny: "I have tried the hot towel method with no results. It is too hard to maintain the heat and moisture at the levels needed. What I have found effective is using castor oil; I found a good video on youtube that elaborates.
[YEA] 12/11/2011: Nakedbigfoot from Eureka, Ca, 95501 replies: "I also had terrible eye pain-mucus, redness, unbearable itchiness.... I thought it was pink-eye, except for it lasted 11 days!! So I finally saw an opthomologist who diagnosed me with Blepharitis (super irritated angry eyelids that don't produce enough oil).
The eyedrops he gave me worked alright; but my eyes would still "flare up" and become extremly irritated. My eyes always seemed to have a red tinge to them-which really really annoyed me.
I tried castor oil, and after only a few nights it seemed to provide a lot of relief! I use a cotton swab to dab the oil on my eyelids, and drop a few drops into my actual eye before bed. It does blur your vision a bit, so before bed is the best option.
01/20/2014: Celeste from Southwest, Missouri replies: "(I hope folks are not using drugstore castor oil processed with hexane. Hexane can cause blindness so everyone be sure to use only hexane free castor oil from the health food store or online.)
Castor oil has only very slightly helped my eyes. I've noticed that my symptoms are usually held at bay while I'm wearing foundation and either putting fresh foundation on before bed usually works at keeping it under control. However, this winter it's been worse than ever and so I've been washing with baby shampoo and using psoriasis lotions very lightly around my eyes (burns like the dickens for a few minutes) which helps tremendously but hasn't completely relieved it. I've also noticed when I eat fungus promoting foods like I did last night, it's absolutely horrible by morning (no matter what I put on my eyelids before bed) with much more redness, swelling, itching, burning etc than usual. Those foods would be sugar and grains for starters. I had popcorn and chocolate last night and I'm paying for it this morning!!"
[YEA] 01/11/2012: Clayton72 from Dallas, Tx: "I recently came down with an eye infection. At first, I assumed it was Pink Eye but my actual eyeball was not red at all. There was swelling from the inner corner of my eye to the middle of the lid and my eyelid was pretty red. By the next day, my eye hurt really bad whenever I blinked. When I realized it was probably Blepharitis, I put coconut oil on it. I did that only trying to keep the scales from forming on the lid. Some of the pics I saw online were disgusting and some of the people had major crust forming around the lashes. I figured that coconut oil would probably keep the skin from collecting.
To my surprise, I found that as long as the coconut oil was on my lid, there was no pain. I never saw any scales form and within 2 days, my eye was not swollen anymore. You have to keep putting the coconut oil on (2-3 times a day), you will notice when it dries because your eye will be itchy and will hurt again. So happy it worked!"
[YEA] 12/21/2013: Rosy from Uk: "Yes the honey works brilliantly for blepharitis. We treated my father-in-law with honey drops and they succeeded in keeping it completely pain and irritation free. His belpharitis was connected to his glaucoma and he was told he would always have it. He was given many different types of eye drops from the hospital, non of which worked, so the honey was a blessed relief for him. I would heartily recommend it."Replies
01/06/2014: Wendy from United Kingdom replies: "I have bought a jar of Manuka Honey - please let me know how to make the eyedrops or can I just smear a small amount on my upper and lower lids?
01/06/2014: Mama To Many from Tennessee, Usa replies: "Wendy,
You could try both. Put a little bit of the honey wherever you have irritation. You can also dilute 1 teaspoon of the honey in a Tablespoon of warm water and use that as drops. I would use purified, filtered or distilled water, if possible.
I hope you have relief soon!
~Mama to Many~"
[YEA] 01/05/2013: Mark from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand: "I have had blepharitis for about three years now tryed everything suggested on earth clinic and with the exception of cider vinegar and hydrogen peroxide which only partly works at best. Decided to try Edgar Cayces suggestion of grated potato packs for half hour to hour each day (this draws out the infection)on both eyes. Even after the first treatment I saw a big improvement. Three days later swollen and red eyelids have almost returned back to normal."Replies
04/29/2013: Chris from Chch, New Zealand replies: "Hi Mark, have you had any progress with this? I've struggled with this for 9 years now.. It's basically ruining my life."
[NAY] 09/27/2013: Maryalice from Eugene, Or replies: "I tried the potato packs, but they did not seem to work. In fact, they seemed to make my eyes redder. My blepharitis is causing really red eyes and pain. I do put warm compresses on my eyes every day. I use homeopathic eye drops. I have tried the castor oil, but it seemed to actually cause the blepharitis to get worse, though made my eyes feel better. Any other insight as to how to deal with this issue is much appreciated. Thanks!"
09/28/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Maryalice, someone cured their Bleph with honey. Google it."
01/02/2014: Kerri from Warwick, R.i. replies: "Can I ask how to make a potato pack?"
Tea Tree Oil
[YEA] 10/24/2013: Charlotte from Brooklyn, Ny: "I tried a million different treatments for blepharitis and dry eye for many months and this was a real b-----. I tried warm compresses, tea bags, supplements, still more misery. But here is something that worked for me. I did some research and found out about "Demodex mites" that infest the eyelashes ( I know it's gross but you can look it up and see if it matches your symptoms). The remedy for these is tea tree oil. Of course it would hurt like hell if you put it on your eyes "straight" but bc I don't like to use petroleum products (for ecology reasons, but especially near my eyes) I got some Waxelene and put one drop of tea tree in a bit of it, then applied it to my lid margins with a wet q-tip. It stung a little, but actually when the proportions were right produced a kind of warm pleasant relief. Did my eyebrows too, and also as recommended I started washing my hair with tea tree oil infused shampoo every day too. Also wash your face with a tea tree soap ( I just put a few drops in Dr. Bronners eucalyptus liquid castille soap.) Kept doing this procdure, no warm compresses, nothing else. Voila--much relief!"