Why Are Our Eyelids Important?

by Nov 11, 2019

Eyelids play an important role in protecting our eyes.  They also help produce a vital portion of our tear film.  Proper eyelid hygiene is a necessary part of ocular health, and neglecting the eyelids and eyelashes can lead to bothersome conditions like swollen or tender lids, painful bumps, or annoying cysts.  Continue reading to learn more about why proper care of eyelids and eyelashes is an important aspect of healthy eyes. 

 

Bumps and Lumps on the Eyelids

There are several conditions that can result in bumps on either the inside or the outside of the eyelids.  They occur when one of the many glands on the eyelids that help release oil into our tears becomes blocked, clogged, inflamed, or infected.  If a gland is simply clogged or blocked, it can swell in size and grow into a noticeable bump. This bump is called a chalazion, and is a painless and cyst-like growth that is filled with oils and pus-like material from the glands.  A chalazion is not infectious, and is typically self-limiting and resolves on its own. If an eyelid bump is caused by an infected or inflamed gland, it can become very red and painful; a bump like this is commonly called a stye or a hordeolum.  A stye will be very tender to touch and can result in swelling of the entire eyelid. Unlike a chalazion, treating a stye may require an antibiotic or topical medication. If left untreated, styes have the potential to spread and cause a more wide-spread infection, such as preseptal cellulitis or orbital cellulitis, both of which require prompt medical attention.  

 

Blepharitis 

Inflammation of the eyelids is known as blepharitis.  It is a very common condition that can result in red, swollen eyelids and is usually accompanied by flaky, crusty debris in the eyelashes.  Possible causes for blepharitis include bacterial overgrowth, Meibomian gland dysfunction, demodex mites, dermatitis, and more. It is also highly associated with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.  This eyelid inflammation is a major contributor to symptoms of dry eye disease, and treating blepharitis is a necessary part of treating dry eyes. Proper eyelid hygiene is essential in preventing and reducing eyelid inflammation and improving overall ocular health. 

 

How to Care for Your Eyelids 

Proper eyelid hygiene can help prevent blepharitis and eyelid bumps.  There are simple steps that can be taken each day in order to keep eyelids clean and healthy.  Warm compresses are a vital part of eyelid maintenance; to apply a warm compress to the eyelids, simply rest a warm, clean washcloth over your closed eyes for 10-15 minutes.  Some commercially prepared eyelid masks can also be used and help retain heat better than traditional washcloths. Beyond warm compresses, daily lid scrubs with warm water and baby soap can remove debris from the eyelashes and reduce the risk of blocked or clogged glands.  For those who suffer from chronic eyelid infection, a course of oral antibiotics can be helpful in clearing the bacterial overgrowth that is commonly the source of eyelid problems. If you are having issues with your eyelids, whether they are mild or severe, visit your optometrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.  

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At Nittany Eye Associates, you will receive only the highest quality eye exam with our eye doctors in the State College, PA and surrounding areas. Call us at (814) 234-2015 or schedule an appointment online with one of our highly trained optometrists in State College. The next time you need an evaluation for your eyelids, blepharitis, or meibomian gland dysfunction be sure to Nittany Eye Associates where we put always put the care of you and your family first at our convenient locations in State College, Matilda, Spring Mills, Tyrone, and Lock Haven PA areas.

 

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