Blepharitis is a condition that is caused by inflammation of the lid margin. It is a very common eye disorder that can cause irritation, dryness, itching, burning sensation and light sensitivity. The inflammation caused by blepharitis can occur on the inside or outside of the lid margin.
Dry eye disease is another common eye disorder that affects over 10 million people in the US. It is associated with inflammation, resulting in deficient production of moisture on the surface of your eye. This can result in itching, sensation of burning, scratching and presence of a foreign body, and can easily impair normal day-to-day functioning.
Common treatments for blepharitis and dry eye include warm compresses, punctal plugs, artificial tears, topical or oral antibiotics and topical steroids.
Current research in dry eye disease and blepharitis concentrate on methods to decrease the inflammation and causes of the disorders. New imaging techniques are helping researchers map the effects of treatment by taking pictures of the different layers of the cornea. This will give physicians a better idea of what types of treatments are most effective and why. New topical treatments are also being designed and tested at the MEEI Cornea Service. The eye drops that are being studied, treat the inflammation and therefore have the potential to relieve most symptoms associated with dry eye and blepharitis.
Reza Dana, M.D., M.P.H.