Seborrheic Blepharitis Causes & Treatments | EyeLoveCares


Understanding the Causes and Treatment of Seborrheic Blepharitis

Eyelid inflammation and dandruff of the eyelashes, often caused by Seborrheic Blepharitis, has become very common. In past articles, we have talked about how dandruff on the eyelids and irregular oil production from glands can cause posterior blepharitis. In this article, we will dive deeper into Seborrheic Blepharitis to find out more possible causes of this disorder.

American optometrists and ophthalmologists conducted a recent survey that showed around 47 percent of their patients suffer the symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis. According to this survey, the symptoms are more common in young people than older people.  The findings of this survey completely contradict the conventional theories of eyelid inflammation.

Consulting with your eye doctor for an effective treatment is important for limiting the symptoms before they damage your eyelids completely.  


Possible Causes of Seborrheic Blepharitis

According to eye doctors, there can be many possible causes of seborrheic blepharitis. Some of them are:,

  • Dry eyes
  • Bacterial infection on the eyelids
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)
  • Fungal infection
  • Demodex eyelash mites
  • Rosacea- skin infection, facial redness
  • Eye allergies caused by eye makeup, contact lenses and eye medications  
  • Clogged oil glands in the eyelids
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Dry eyes and seborrheic blepharitis often take place at the same time.   It may get difficult sometimes to identify whether seborrheic blepharitis causes dry eyes or dry eyes cause seborrheic blepharitis.   As a huge number of patients suffer from these symptoms, many researchers and doctors consider these two conditions is the part of a chronic eye disorder called Dry Eye Blepharitis Syndrome (DEBS).

According to this theory, dry eyes are the late manifestation of seborrheic blepharitis, and if the symptoms of blepharitis are treated, it will also reduce, prevent, or eliminate the symptoms of dry eyes.

Typically, seborrheic blepharitis is associated with bacterial growth. These bacteria live along your eyelid margin, or at the base of eyelashes. Over a certain period, the bacteria growth multiplies and forms a thin structure of biofilm. 


If biofilm is left untreated, it creates a toxic environment, forming a thick plaque on the eyelids similar to your teeth.   Demodex parasites, or eyelashes mites, feed on this biofilm which increases their growth on the eyelashes. That does not only spread the infection but also worsens eyelid inflammation.  

In addition, the bacteria present in the eyelid biofilm produce toxic substances called “exotoxins.”  These substances exacerbate inflammation and pain in the oil-secreting glands of eyelids. The condition is called meibomian gland dysfunction.  This is one of the major causes of dry eyes, irritation, and discomfort.

Furthermore, eye specialists associate seborrheic blepharitis with several skin conditions that include psoriasis, eczema, dandruff, and ocular rosacea. Also, some patients suffer from pink eye and blepharitis at the same time.

Complications of Seborrheic Blepharitis

You might experience the following complications if you have seborrheic blepharitis:

Excess Tearing

The accumulated debris, such as dandruff flakes and abnormal oil secretion from the glands, can form a thick layer in your tear film.   This mixture of oil, mucus, and water can lead to an abnormal function of the tear film. It prevents the healthy lubrication of the eyelids. The condition can be very irritating for the patients, causing the symptoms of excess tearing.   


The condition occurs when one of the oil glands at the eyelid margin is blocked due to any bacterial infection. The infected gland causes a swollen, red eyelid.  Chalazia often affect the inside area of the eyelid, and can occur after a stye that has been left untreated or not fully treated.

Increased Eyelash Problems

Seborrheic blepharitis causes numerous eyelashes problems, contributing to eyelash thinning and breakage.  Plus, it also causes abnormal growth of the eyelashes. Many people with blepharitis will notice that they are losing eyelashes easily.


Another common complication is stye, which refers to an infection which mostly develops at the base of your eyelashes. Due to this infection, a pink swollen lump appears on the upper edge of the eyelash. Not only is this lump very painful, but it is also visible on your eyelid surface and is infected.

Corneal Infection

The patients of seborrheic blepharitis constantly suffer from irritation and inflamed eyelids that may lead to deleterious results. A sore ulcer may develop on their cornea, or on the front of the eye. Insufficient tearing is another symptom that can predispose patients to numerous corneal infections.

Symptoms of Seborrheic Blepharitis

Seborrheic Blepharitis

The symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis are as follows:

  • Itchy eyelids
  • Watery eyes, irritation
  • Stinging eyes
  • Accumulated crusty debris on the eyelashes
  • Grittiness and forein body sensation

If your condition is severe, you may suffer all these symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis at the same time, and they can also be constant or intermittent. Some patients also experience madarosis, also known as – eyelash breakage and loss.

Treatment of Seborrheic Blepharitis

Visiting your eye doctor is the first step when it comes to treating seborrheic blepharitis.  Your doctor will not only professionally guide you but also determine the main cause of eyelid inflammation.    The doctor will examine your condition to evaluate what type of blepharitis you are suffering from. It will help your doctor determine an appropriate treatment for you.

Typically, the treatment options include:

Eyelid Scrub

This is comparatively a simpler option in which your doctor recommends you to gently scrub your eyelids to remove the biofilm buildup from the eyelid. A daily regime of eyelid cleaning and warm compresses reduces Demodex mites and bacteria on your eyelids. The effective cleaning agents include both wipes and sprays, such as the Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser.

Medicated Eye Drops or Ointments

Your eye doctor may prescribe you some medicines or ointments to destroy the built-up bacteria and other microbes on the eyelids. The medicated eye drops are often used when infection is severe and can cause the eye infection.


In-office Treatments

Although eyelid scrub and cleansing treatment is quite helpful to remove bacterial plaque at home, your doctor may also recommend you some in-office procedures to speed up the treatment. Some procedures are:,

Thermal Pulsation Treatment (LipiFlow)

This procedure includes melting of material obstructing tear film and meibomian glands. It is a simple, 12-minute procedure that is painless and works well for those with MGD.


This treatment helps in the removal of bacteria, Demodex mites, and biofilm efficiently from the eyelids.  Plus, it helps doctors open the clogged glands and improves their functionality.


Seborrheic BlepharitisDoctors often use AzaSite to treat chronic seborrheic blepharitis. It is comparatively a new method to treat eyelid infection.  This new treatment option contains azithromycin ophthalmic, a viscous formulation. According to modern researchers, this is very effective to kill gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.  Plus, it lasts long due to its good penetration.

Duct Probing

It is another new option to treat seborrheic blepharitis. It requires occultation opening and may cause discomfort.   That is why a patient’s lid is anesthetized before probing a small cannula into meibomian glands.

Steroid Treatment

If you do not have an eye infection, you may be prescribed eye drops or steroids, which. It helps reduce inflammation.  Your doctor may also prescribe different lubricating eye drops to treat irritation caused by dryness in tear film.

Doctors also prescribe systematic anti-inflammatory drugs to treat severe ocular rosacea, which is one of the leading causes of blepharitis.   Similarly, Cortcosteroidscorticosteroids, combined with antibiotics, are used to improve many symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis. The combination may give you temporary relief, but using them for a long-term may lead to harmful side effects.

Topical Antibiotics

Topical antibiotics like erythromycin are also prescribed to treat seborrheic blepharitis.  The antibiotics are very effective and can be directly applied with eye drops. Tetracycline is another antibiotic prescribed by doctors to treat the bacterial infection that causes seborrheic blepharitis.

This antibiotic can be used to fight bacterial infections in other parts of the body, particularly skin.  

Researchers, on the other hand, observed that antibiotics that treat seborrheic blepharitis may have side effects like altering a patient’s flora. Furthermore, they may lead to excessive colonization of fungal microbes.  


Natural Treatments for Seborrheic Blepharitis

Warm Compresses

You may be prescribed this treatment by your doctor, and it is one of the effective natural treatments. Treating seborrheic blepharitis is all about soothing the inflamed eyelid. Once inflammation is reduced, removing the bacterial crust that has built up on the eyelashes or eyelid becomes very easy.

Applying warm compresses on the eyes softens the crust and regulates blood flow around the eyelids which speeds up healing.  You can do it in the few simple steps:

  • Use a washcloth
  • Wet it with lukewarm water
  • Wring out it
  • Gently place it over affected eye for fifteen minutes
  • Repeat this process at least three times

Daily use helps promote drainage and reduces inflammation. If you want to avoid using a washcloth and rewarming it constantly, check out the Heyedrate Dry Eye Mask.

Tea Tree Oil

Manuka Honey For BlepharitisSome recent researches have concluded that tea tree oil has incredible anti-inflammatory properties.   Not only this, it has excellent antimicrobial and antibacterial effects. These properties make it super beneficial for killing demodex mites, which infest the eyelids.

Moreover, tea tree oil also soothes flaking dry skin, removes dandruff and kills bacteria. A study conducted in 2012 showed that using tea tree oil to scrub eyelids for at least one month can significantly reduce mites in blepharitis patients. You can use it with coconut oil or try the Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap.

Treat Dandruff

Dandruff on your scalp causes flaking and redness that can spread over eyebrows, face, and even eyelashes. Bacteria and microbes easily spread through your scalp dandruff and natural remedies can help keep them at bay.  

Treating dandruff is important to get rid of bacteria that cause seborrheic blepharitis. and Ffor that, you can use essential oils, coconut oil, and medicated shampoos.

You can rely on home remedies to reduce moisture on the scalp.  Use a mixture of raw honey, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and rosemary oil. It works very well as a toxin-free shampoo.

Black Tea

This natural treatment may sound peculiar to you, but black tea is much more than just your energy booster for the day. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can be very effective in treating seborrheic blepharitis. Some recent studies have shown that tannin and phenolic compounds in black tea can combat bacterial growth.

This natural treatment is not only effective but also simple to use. All you need to do is to take a tea bag and steep put it into boiling water until the water changes color. Remove it from the water, cool it down, and squeeze water from it. Place it over your eyelid and let it rest over there for at least ten to fifteen minutes, then throw it away.

Do Not Wear Eye Makeup or Contact Lenses

Using contact lenses and eye makeup can delay your healing process. It also makes eyelid hygiene difficult.  Most eye doctors recommend that you should avoid wearing contact lenses and eye makeup until your seborrheic blepharitis is treated.

It is better to use glasses instead of wearing contact lenses. In fact, once your infection is treated, always use a fresh pair of lenses, as an old pair may be contaminated with fungus and bacteria.  


Add Anti-Inflammatory Food to Your Diet

Adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can significantly help you improve the symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis naturally.  Not only does anti-inflammatory food reduce systematic inflammation, but it also treats various seborrheic blepharitis conditions like rosacea.

 The following are the best food options that you can include in your diet.

  • Organic Vegetables and Fruits:  There is no doubt that organic food is one of the easiest ways to avoid a variety of skin disorders.  These foods contain antioxidants and inflammatory anti-inflammatory compounds that help you boost your immune system.  In addition, antioxidants rebuild skin cells as they provide vitamins that are great for your eyes, such as vitamin A and vitamin C.
  • Omega-3 Foods: Eating omega-3 foods is another effective way to reduce systemic inflammation.   Sticking to a diet that has a sufficient amount of omega-3s like chia seeds, walnuts, wild-caught salmon, flaxseeds, and wild mackerel can speed up healing.   It also boosts your immune system and helps it reacts to mites strongly.
  • Healthy Fats: Healthy fats are associated with a reduction in inflammation and skin healing.   Foods like coconut oil, nuts, and avocados are good sources of healthy fats.
  • Antioxidants:   It is important to increase antioxidants intake to lower inflammation in your body.  It can play a crucial role in healing various eye disorders, particularly seborrheic blepharitis.   Vitamins A, B, C, and E, are potent antioxidants which are required by your body to reduce inflammation.  They inhibit free radicals, which are- the substances that damage tissues and can cause cancer.
  • Adding citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli to your diet can meet the requirement of vitamin C in your body. Similarly, whole grains are rich in Vitamin E. Not only this, these foods have other important antioxidants, like magnesium and selenium, which can help reduce inflammation.
  • Include Spices in Your Diet:  A number of studies have proven how spices can be medicinal cures.  Some spices have amazing health benefits because of the presence of essential nutrients and important compounds like antioxidants. For example curcumin, a substance found in curry powder and turmeric is anti-inflammatory and can lower chronic inflammation problems in patients.

According to Sharon Palmer, a certified dietitian, spices like rosemary, ginger, oregano, and hot pepper are widely eaten in different cultures because of their anti-inflammatory properties.   Using these spices in your diet offers plenty of health benefits. Their potential anti-inflammatory medicinal properties lower inflammation, specifically eye inflammation and help improve the symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis.


Fish Oil: 

Seborrheic BlepharitisIf consuming a sufficient amount of omega-3 foods is difficult, you can add a fish oil supplement to your diet to meet the daily requirement. It can nourish skin, reduce inflammation, and treat dandruff, which is one of the main causes of seborrheic blepharitis.  Studies have concluded that consuming fish oil supplements increases fatty acid saturation in meibum. This helps you heal dry eye symptoms that may lead to seborrheic blepharitis.

Avoid Foods that Increase Inflammation

Eating anti-inflammatory food is not the only solution to reduce the symptoms of seborrheic blepharitis.  However, you should also at the same time avoid foods that may increase inflammation in various sensitive body parts like eyelids.  

Some common examples of these items are processed foods that include dairy products, fast foods, high-fat meat, and foods that contain a high quantity of sugar.

Moreover, junk food like hot dogs has nitrates that can contribute to increased inflammation. It is recommended that you choose lower-fat alternatives to these foods.

Blink as Much as You Can

This might seem funny to you, but incorporating blinking exercises into your daily routine can help you improve seborrheic blepharitis condition. Studies have shown that blinking decreases as we age, especially if you are engaged in different near-vision tasks such as using phones or computers.

Blinking stimulates meibomian glands, and.  Stimulation helps them secret more oil, which is very important for avoiding abnormality and blockage that may lead to blepharitis symptoms.  People with posterior blepharitis can greatly benefit from this blinking exercise. A daily routine of blinking your eyes for at least twenty minutes, five times a day is helpful for keeping your eyes lubricated.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is undeniably wondrous when it comes to treating seborrheic blepharitis.  Not only does it provide instant relief from eye inflammation, but it also reduces burning sensation, redness, pain, and irritation in your eyelids.

The threefold actions of castor oil moisturize and lubricate eyelids and keep them moisturized for a long time. Not only this, but it also regulates malfunctioning of meibomian glands and reduces swelling. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of castor oil help you fight various eyelid infections.

Try Manuka Honey

Seborrheic BlepharitisThe effects of manuka honey are of great value, especially when you talk about seborrheic blepharitis. It contains methylglyoxal and hydrogen peroxide. Both the substances enhance manuka honey’s infection-fighting abilities, making it an excellent anti-bacterial agent.  

Using manuka honey is also effective in treating skin infections like impetigo.

Apart from that, the thick honey helps your eyes retain moisture and prevents eyelid from becoming flaky and dry.  This is how you can apply it to your eyes:

  • Take organic manuka honey and dip a sterile cotton tip into it.
  • Spoon up an adequate amount and apply it over your infected eye.
  • Coat the full length and discard cotton swab after using it.
  • Leave it for ten to twenty minutes on the eyelids and wash off.
  • You can leave it overnight to see the positive outcomes within just a week.

How Do Eye Doctors Diagnose Blepharitis?

Seborrheic blepharitis is typically diagnosed by an eye doctor or a physician after studying a patient’s history or their physical examination. A medical history may help identify the symptoms that a patient has been experiencing. It also includes reviewing the general health conditions of the patient that may contribute to the eye allergy.

Generally, physical examination includes a thorough evaluation of lid margin, eyelid base, eyelids oil glands, quality and quantity of tear glands. In addition, the doctor also examines the front part of your eyeball with the help of the slit lamp.

It provides a doctor with a magnified view, providing sufficient illumination. This is a common way to examine all the types of seborrheic blepharitis in patients. The treatment is also based on this examination.


Prevention Measures

There is no denying that eyelid inflammation is a painful and uncomfortable condition. Unfortunately, the condition is not always preventable. However, by taking preventative measures, you can reduce the risk of inflammation.

Keeping your eyelid clean is the most important thing to avoid irritants, deleterious microbes, allergens, and chemicals as they can lead to seborrheic blepharitis symptoms.

Here are few proposed measures:

Use Organic Moisturizers

Try using organic and natural moisturizers for your skin, as they are less irritating and chemical free.

Use Hypochlorous Acid  

Washing eyelids gently with any organic soap and filtered water isn’t enough. Try a hypochlorous acid cleanser such as Heyedrate. It’s as simple as spraying it on, rubbing it in, and letting it dry!

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Never rub your eyes if your hands are not clean. Make sure you wash your hands before wearing contact lenses and makeup.  Never apply old and used cosmetic products on your face. It can infect your face with harmful bacteria and mites.

Avoid Looking at the Sun directly

UV radiations is very harmful not only for your skin but also for your eyes. They produce free radicals that damage your eyes and can lead to various eye disorders and infections like glaucoma and blindness.  Direct exposure to the sun may worsen blepharitis infection. Use filtered glasses to avoid intense sunlight exposure.

Keep Your Eyelids Clean

Demodex mites feed on your eyelids and oil glands.  That means, keeping your eyelids clean is a good way to avoid eyelid infections.

Use diluted coconut oil or tea tree oil regularly to keep your eyebrow and eyelid clean. Try the Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap!

Bottom Line

Overall, seborrheic blepharitis is a painful condition and can get worse if left untreated. Consulting with your eye doctor immediately after noticing the symptoms is the best way to prevent it from exacerbating. The above-mentioned treatment options and preventative measures are also very effective to prevent or heal blepharitis condition.


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