What causes blepharitis?

Written by: Mr Myer Mark Yodaiken
Edited by: Cal Murphy

Blepharitis is a condition which manifests as dry, burning, scratchy, red, and itchy eyes. The eyelids can become sore and you may experience a gritty feeling in your eyes. Who is affected by blepharitis and what causes it? Expert ophthalmologist Mr Myer Mark Yodaiken explains.

Sore eyes from blepharitis

Who is affected by blepharitis?

Blepharitis is something which usually affects people between middle age and old age. While generally associated with the older, population, it is slowly becoming an epidemic in young people and it is thought that this may be due to poor and delayed or slower blinking associated with long-term computer and screen use and is also related to contact lens wear.


What is the main cause of blepharitis?

Blepharitis has two main groups, namely:

  • Anterior blepharitis: this is mainly due to an infection of the eyelids and eyelashes with deposits of bacteria building up there. These deposits can trickle in to the eye and irritate it, making it uncomfortable and sore. It can also be caused by demodex mite infestation that may be associated with seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Posterior blepharitis: this is more accurately known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and is very poorly understood. It is caused by poor oil secretions with the possible addition of a chronic infection. It can be associated with rosacea, which is a specific type of skin acne. It can sometimes also be caused by demodex mites.

Read more: MGD and blepharitis


Does blepharitis go away or can it be cured?

In the case that the blepharitis is caused by an infection, then it may well go away with proper attention to eyelid hygiene and with the help of antibiotics. If you have rosacea, this may also settle down with a treatment regimen of antibiotics, such as doxycycline, although it can sometimes reoccur after stopping the treatments.

Most meibomian gland disease can be controlled, but unfortunately, only very occasionally can it be completely cured. Rarely will it go away on its own without some sort of intervention. There are various types of interventions, including heat bags, IPL (intense pulsed light), LipiFlow® and meibomian gland probing, all of which can make a significant difference to the disease.


If you are showing symptoms of blepharitis, visit Mr Yodaiken’s Top Doctors profile to book an appointment today.

By Mr Myer Mark Yodaiken

Mr Myer Mark Yodaiken is an experienced consultant ophthalmologist based in London and Manchester. He specialises in the treatment of dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucoma, as well as being an expert on meibomian gland disease (a type of blepharitis). His interest in dry eyes led him to open a specialist clinic - The Dry Eye Clinic Manchester, where he provides expert treatment to patients suffering from dry eyes and blepharitis.

Mr Yodaiken qualified from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, going on to complete specialist training as an ophthalmologist. He later moved to the United Kingdom, completing fellowships in anterior segment surgery and age-related macular degeneration. He is a member of a number of esteemed ophthalmology associations, including the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.

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