(Photograph: meibomian blepharitis – photograph courtesy of Spectrum Thea)

Blepharitis is an inflammation of your eyelids. It can make your eyelids red and eyelashes crusty, and make your eyes feel irritated or itchy. It can also lead to burning, soreness or stinging in your eyes. In severe cases, your lashes may fall out. 

Where blepharitis occurs

It is a chronic (long-term) condition. This means that once you have had it, it can come back even after it has cleared up. It normally affects both eyes. You can usually treat it by keeping your eyelids clean. You may need to do this for several months.

Your optometrist, doctor or eye specialist can spot the signs of blepharitis by looking closely at your eyelids. A doctor can take a swab which they can send away to be checked to see if there is a staphylococcus bacterial infection.

Other tips on blepharitis

Some medicines can make your eyes feel dry. Talk to your GP or pharmacist about whether this may be the case.

For more information, please talk to your optometrist.


This information is provided by the College of Optometrists. The College – a registered charity – is the professional body for optometry in the UK, working for the public benefit. It is a membership organisation and the most qualified practising optometrists in the UK are members. Membership of the College shows a commitment to the very highest clinical, ethical and professional standards.  Look for the letters MCOptom or FCOptom to see if your optometrist is a member.