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Blepharitis

MagazineFebruary 2010 (Vol. 20 Issue 11)Blepharitis

Q) For the past few months, I've been suffering from dry, red eyes and flaky eyelids, which my eye doctor has diagnosed as blepharitis

Q) For the past few months, I've been suffering from dry, red eyes and flaky eyelids, which my eye doctor has diagnosed as blepharitis. I've been prescribed an ointment, but I'd rather try natural remedies first. What do you suggest? -J.G., via e-mail

A) Blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelids, is a chronic condition that can lead to redness, dryness, burning, itching and irritation of the eyes. The most common causes are poor eyelid hygiene, bacterial infection and excess oil production by the meibomian glands in the eyelid. Identifying the cause is key in any healing plan (see
box below).
Conventional treatment usually involves keeping the eyelids clean, applying warm compresses, using anti-dandruff shampoo and, when necessary, antibiotics or steroid eye drops. However, these measures tend to ease symptoms rather than cure. What's more, medicated eye drops can cause serious side-effects, such as increased pressure in the eye, and changes to the lens and cornea (Can J Ophthalmol, 2008; 43: 170-9).
Happily, dietary changes and nutritional supple-ments can be effective alternative treatments.

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