Dr. Matheson Harris: Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid margin along the lashes, which can cause crusting, itching, tearing, and redness to the skin. It's common in all ages, but more common as we get older. Blepharitis is treated with hot compresses, held on the eyes for five to ten minutes, morning and night, followed by washing along the eyelashes, with gentle soap, like baby shampoo.

Chalazions are large, red bumps that form on the eyelids, when the oil glands get blocked up. When oil can't get out of the glands near the eyelashes, the oil backs up into the skin, causing inflammation. These are not infections, and usually aren't painful, but they can be hard to get rid of, and often last for weeks or months. They can be treated like Blepharitis, with hot compresses, a few times a day, and eyelid scrubs. Sometimes, we also prescribe steroid ointments or even inject them directly with steroids.

If these treatments don't work, you may need a small procedure in the office to remove the bump, and the blocked oil gland. A third type of eyelid problem, a stye, is actually much less common. Many people mistake a chalazion for a stye, but the two are actually different.

Styes are infected eyelash follicles. They enlarge very quickly, and are centered around an eyelash, and are usually painful. They can also be treated with hot compresses, until they drain, and may require an antibiotic ointment.

Blepharitis, Styes and Chalazion

Dr. Matheson Harris discusses infections and inflammation in the eyes and eyelids. Treatment includes hot compresses and washing of the eyelids.