Blepharitis is a common cause of dry eye symptoms


Anterior blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eye lid margin caused by an over population of naturally occuring organisms at the lid edge. These organisms produce toxic byproducts that cause inflammation along the eyelid margin resulting in redness, swelling, irritation and crusting. These changes in the lid structure result in the reduction of the quality and quantity of the oily tear layer. When the oily tear later is reduced, the aqueous tear layer evaporates at a far greater rate, causing the sensation of having scratchy, itchy, burning  eyes. Often blepharitis and dry eye disease present with similar symptoms, however the treatment can be quite different for each condition, therefore it always best to have an eye professional diagnosis the cause of your eye discomfort to obtain the correct treatment.

Symptoms of blepharitis

  • scratchy eyes
  • tearing
  • itchy lid margins
  • lid and lash crusting
  • eye rubbing
  • lid debris
  • redness of the eyes and lids
Eyelash debris present due to blepharitis prior to being cleaned at Dean Samarkovski Optometrist


clean lashes following blephex treatment at Dean Samarkovski Optometrist


In-office treatment

BlephEx is a painless in-office proceedure that thoroughly cleanses the eyelids, removing excess biofilm that naturally accumulates due to the natural flora on our skin. The handpiece spins a disposable micro-sponge tip that precisely cleans along the eyelid edge and lashes removing debris and gently exfoliating the lid surface. The proceedure takes approimately 10-15 minutes and is well tolerated with most patients reporting a tickling sensation.

Typically the BlephEx treatment is followed by home maintainence using warm compresses and lid scrubs daily to maintain optimal lid health and hygiene. Blephex may need to be repeated each 4-6 months if symptoms reappear.

blephex micro exfoliation device sitting on charger used for exfoliating lid margins in dry eye disease.

In-home maintenance

Many people with dry eye find comfort when warm moist heat is applied to their closed lids. Research has shown that around 42 degrees C is an optimal temperature to melt the oil residing in the lipid producing glands of the eye lids (meibomian glands). The softening of the oil allows it to flow freely from the oil glands providing an instant source of lubrication and also preventing evaporation of the aqueous layer of the tear film.

Bruder eye mask worn by a lady for the treatment of dry eye disease

Lid hygiene is an important part of a dry eye treatment routine, as it removes unwanted bacteria from our lid margin. An over abundance of normal skin bacteria on the eye lid margin often exacerbates dry eye symptoms. The increased presence of bacteria cause inflammation of the eye lid margins, and contribute to the worsening of the oil quality within our meibomian glands. Regular cleansing of the eye lids and lashes is vital to lessen the impact of dry eye disease and blepharitis. Only particular cleansers are beneficial in dry eye disease as they must contain tea tree oil to be effective.

Foam lid cleansers such as Blephadex and Sterilid use for the treatment of dry eye disease

Artificial tear supplements are often the first selected treatment to alleviate the symptoms associated with dry eye. We will recommend a preservative free lubricant drop as preservatives can have a negative impact on the ocular surface of the eye. As dry eye is associated with inflammation of the eye, we may prescribe a short course of steroid eye drops to optimise the comfort of the eyes in the early stages of treatment.

Dry eye drops such as Optimal Manuka honey eye drops and Nova tears eye drops and hyloforte eye drops and VitaPos ointment are all useful for treating dry disease

Research has shown omega 3 supplements may improve the symptoms associated with dry eye and MGD. They work by providing an anti-inflammatory effect which helps reduce the inflammation associated with dry eye disease. The omega 3 also improves the overall tear lipid layer quality, helping to reduce the effects of evaporation from the corneal surface. Not all omega 3 supplements are beneficial. We only recommend high quality omega 3 supplements that have the addition of flaxseed oil and borage oil, which all work together to improve the tear quality and reduce the symptoms associated with dry eye.

A container of Lacritec omega 3 capsules are a high quality formula specifically designed for dry eye disease