How to Cure Sore Eyes when Dealing with Blepharitis
If you’ve ever suffered from a bout of itchy and swollen eyes, then you might have had blepharitis.
This is a hugely common condition which can occur at any time of life, and sometimes seemingly without reason. While blepharitis isn’t dangerous, it is uncomfortable and causes sore eyes, as well as leaving a reddened appearance, and also flaking of the outer edge of the eyelid.
Attractive, we’re sure you’ll agree.
What is Blepharitis?
Blepharitis is the medical term for inflammation of the eyelid margin. To break that down into layman’s terms, this means that the edge of your eyelid, where your eyelashes join, can become red and swollen.
This can also cause that unattractive flaking we just mentioned, as skin flakes off, and it can also cause discomfort and itching. Our sore eyes meaning, in this case, is a general tenderness, perhaps a throbbing, and the aforementioned itching.
You can develop the condition at any time, and it may be that it only affects one eye, both eyes, and perhaps one is worse than the other. The main symptoms of blepharitis are:
- Eyelids sticking together, especially when you wake up in the morning
- Itchy and sore eyes, one or both
- Greasy lashes, or crusty flakes
- Feeling like you have ‘something in your eye’ or a burning feeling
- Sores eyes and headache at the same time
- Photophobia, i.e. you can’t tolerate light as well as you usually can
- Swollen eyelids, especially on the edges
- Eyelashes falling out
- An inability to wear your contact lenses
You could have all of the above in severe cases of sore eyes, or you could have a combination of a few. Again, it is likely that when you wake up in the morning, your symptoms will be worse.
This can be contained and treated, usually with good hygiene and a few remedies we’ll talk about shortly, but it is a long-term kind of deal in terms of flare-ups.
The Different Types of the Condition
There are three main types of the condition – anterior blepharitis, posterior blepharitis, and mixed blepharitis.
The anterior type is when the skin at the very base of your lashes is swollen and affected the most. Posterior blepharitis is a case of sore eyes meaning that the glands which are located behind the base of the lashes are mostly affected. Mixed is, as the name would suggest, a combination of the two.
What Causes Blepharitis?
If you can identify what causes you to have sore eyes, then you can try and avoid the situation in the future. It can be the case however that it just occurs without warning, but at least trying to curb the situation is better than doing nothing!
The different types of the condition are caused by different things, but they mainly come down to either a bacterial infection, a type of dermatitis along the eyelid margin, a reaction to a product, or it can also be down to a blockage in the meibomian glands, which are located behind the base of the lashes.
Unlike conjunctivitis, which has very similar symptoms to blepharitis, this particular condition isn’t contagious.
Reducing Your Risk of Exposure
You can’t totally avoid the chances of developing blepharitis, but you can try and avoid introducing bacteria in the area. Make sure you take off your make up at night also. It is also best to recognize the symptoms at the start, and take treatment action, to avoid the condition becoming even more painful.
We will talk about how to cure a flare-up shortly, but putting into place a daily hygiene routine is a good way to extend your times between flare-ups.
Work your way through the following routine at least once a day, perhaps in the morning, but preferably twice, adding in another routine before you go to bed:
- Using a warm compress, apply it gently to the eyes, being careful not to press. This will stimulate the production of oils from the glands
- Using a very gentle touch, massage the eyelids using a circular motion. This will help to push out the oil from the glands
- Now gently clean the eyelids using warm water and a soft cotton wool pad (not cotton wool balls). Be sure to remove any dirt and any oil that you can feel
- Pat dry
Dealing with Sore Eyes from Blepharitis
The good news is that blepharitis can be cleared up quite easily with a few home remedies, such as a blepharitis eye mask, a warm compress, and regular cleaning of the area.
The bad news is that if you have had blepharitis once, you’re more likely to experience it again in the future – this is a chronic condition which will flare up from time to time.
First things first, we need to find out a little more about this rather uncomfortable condition, to be able to understand how it works.
How Long Does It Last?
A regular bout of blepharitis should not last for too long, and your sore eyes should clear up with home treatment after a few days. If the condition bout goes on for longer, it is a good idea to seek out medical help, as you may require antibiotics to clear up an infection.
As we mentioned earlier blepharitis is a long-term chronic condition. It’s not dangerous, but it is annoying and painful. It cannot be cured, but it can be controlled, and the symptoms can be recognized and dealt with promptly, to curb the flare up.
How to Treat Blepharitis
When you notice sore eyes or a sign of an imminent flare-up, it’s important to take action as quickly as possible, to avoid further progression. In terms of how to cure sore eyes immediately, quick action is the key.
Sore eyes and headaches often go hand in hand, so if you notice that you’re starting to get a few headaches, be a bit more aware of the way your eyes feel too.
The first port of call when you notice you have sore eyes is to use a warm compress.
- Boil the kettle and pour the water into a bowl, leaving it to one side, to cool down a little
- Take a clean washcloth and soak it in the water, wringing out the excess
- Sit down and relax, placing the cloth over your eyes for around ten minutes
If you want a ready-made solution, you can buy a blepharitis eye mask, which you can heat up and use in exactly the same way – less mess!
We talked about massaging your eyes on a daily basis in the prevention section, but when you notice a flare-up is on its way, you can use this type of massage instead.
- Close your eyes and relax
- Using your little finger, gently use a small circular motion to massage along the eyelid – don’t press too hard, you don’t want to be seeing stars!
- Repeat this for a few minutes, again to stimulate the oil production in the glands
- Using a clean cotton wool pad (again, not buds as these will leave small pieces of lint behind), roll it in a downwards motion from the lid to the edge of the eyelashes – repeat a few times on the upper lid, before moving onto the lower one
- Using warm water and a clean cotton wool pad wash away the oil and pat dry
This is similar to the massage we talked about earlier but in the case of a flare-up, it is more important to ensure that you are super gentle, that you don’t press too hard and irritate any swelling, and that you ensure your eyes are dry at the end of the procedure.
Washing The Eyelid Margin
Whilst you can visit the pharmacy and buy an over the counter cleaning solution or wipe, you can make one just as effectively at home, with more natural ingredients. We are talking about your eyes here, so it’s always best to be natural whenever you can.
The eyelid margin is the very edge of the lid, where your lashes meet. This is where blepharitis affects, so keeping this area clean and free of bacteria is vital. In the case of a flare-up, there is likely to be debris of skin, oil, and all manner of gunk present, and keeping the area clean prevents the glands from becoming further blocked, or infection setting in.
- Again, boil the kettle and fill a bowl with a pint of water, setting it aside to cool a little
- Once cool, add just a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda – you’ll probably find this in your kitchen cabinet, and if not, supermarkets stock it cheaply
- Mix together well
Now you have your solution, you should apply it to your eyelid margins using a cotton pool pad, using it to clean away any crusts or pieces of debris which have accumulated. Remember to continue all the way down the eyelashes, as oil and crusts will stick to your lashes too.
Once you’ve finished, take another clean pad and wash again, to sterilize the area. Remember to pat dry.
It’s a good idea to carry out this cleaning routine even if you’re not suffering from a flare up, but this one only needs to be done a couple of times per week. This is effective at reducing the chances of scarring, which can occur with repeated attacks of blepharitis.
If your sore eyes don’t respond to the holistic methods of cleaning we mentioned then you may need to pay a visit to your doctor for some antibiotic treatment. This can be in the form of either eye drops, creams, or ointments, and you will usually need to apply them for around 4-6 weeks.
Each type of treatment is applied differently, so always follow the instructions on the packet. You usually use clean fingers to apply the cream or ointment to the eyelid, several times a day and then tapering the frequency down as the condition eases.
Watch What You Eat
Yes, you read that right! Some studies have shown that if you include omega-3 fats into your diet then you can orally help your blepharitis. This means eating oily types of fish, like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines, as well as fresh tuna. These fats also have a myriad of other health benefits too, so chowing down won’t do you any harm! The recommended amount is around two portions per week.
How to Cure Sore Eyes Immediately
Good hygiene and knowing the signs is the fastest way to clear up your sore eyes and to stop a full on flare up from occurring.
If you’re regularly suffering from bouts of blepharitis, or you’ve had one or two and you want to try and stop them from happening regularly, it’s a good idea to invest in a hassle-free warm compress product, to cut down on the mess. This means that you always have your go-to treatment option to hand.
A blepharitis mask isn’t going to take up a lot of room and can be warmed up or cooled down according to how your eyes respond best; remember that we’re all individuals, and what works for one person might need to be changed subtly to work for another. You will quickly find out which option your eyes respond to best.
Moving Forward with the Condition
While blepharitis is certainly annoying and a little uncomfortable, provided you maintain good hygiene then you stand a better chance of suffering from increasingly frequent bouts.
The fact that the condition isn’t contagious also means that you don’t have to worry about other people in your household contracting the condition, e.g. via towels.
Yes, it’s upsetting, and yes, it’s sore, but it won’t last for long, and when you arm yourself with the tools to reduce the discomfort and cut down on the length of the bout, you’re on the fast track to normality.